Here’s a poem about my daughter who is already four years old. Time flies and it makes me cry, even though we’re having fun.

 

You dress yourself now
with an occasional plea
to tell you which shoe
goes on which foot.
every morning Papi cooks
you pan y huevo while you
fold your pajamas into
a perfect square
and lay them on the coffee table.
no one asked you to do that
it’s just your routine.
you love
your mini-volleyball, coloring
being chased, “playing yoga”
and surprises.
you don’t care
what the surprise is,
the anticipation’s the thing.
we cheer you on
in big and small things
when you succeed
a grin forms on your face
and you strain to contain
that burst of joy
which betrays your façade of calm.
Where’d you get that from?

At night we read The Giving Tree
and we talk about Jesus
how he made a sick girl “feel better”
you point to his “boo boos” on the cross
and while you worry about
band aids for the Savior
I fumble my best gospel presentation
to a four-year-old who
doesn’t yet know of death
who still asks about Mamita
and where she is.
then you stall before I turn off the lights
“Hold you!” you beg
(you mean “Hold me!”
but really, you’re right)
and I sometimes give in.
an hour later I regret
every time I stared at a screen instead
of your saucer-wide, excited eyes.

I used to hold you through the night
watch you wake up next to me…
used to feed you
from my own body…
then…surprise! Your independence grew
long as your legs.
do you know how to savor
every drop of flavor, every sip
down to the dregs?
bottle that infectious laugh?
do these sweet days
get recorded to replay?
or is there some sort of surprise
on the other side?
some sort of deeper joy
in growing young with you?
a more mature us we’ll be, I think, so
sure, the anticipation’s the thing,
but much more,
it’s the right-now, simply being.