Thursday, November 17, 2011

letter to eldest, age seven

Sometimes I forget
that you're not a teenager, when you stomp down the hall
with steps that sound louder than your size one feet.
When you shout not fair or stand
like a statue over some stubborn ground.

Sometimes I forget
that you're not an adult, when you wait
with your tank full of patience, while your sisters
completely lose it.
Or when you speak some bit of wisdom
about kindness or friendship or
not making someone else feel bad,
truths it takes most people
a lifetime
to learn.

Sometimes I forget
that you're a child.
Until I sit completely still for twenty straight minutes
watching your face as you sing with expression
through a book of poems, rhymes you learned at school. 
Until I feel your mittened had slip into mine
as we walk to the bus. Still small.
Until I watch your bright face through the bus window
as it pulls away
and you're waving
like you mean it.

Then I remember
that you're stepping every day
into bigger and bigger shoes.
And that the sunrise tomorrow will look
mostly the same as the one I saw this morning,
only subtly different because of the tilt of the earth.
And I might not notice until you're coming up
from a completely different direction
that you've changed

into a teenager
and then an adult.

So I'm trying to memorize your face
your voice
the feel of your hand

So I won't ever forget
when you were a Child.