1st time in the pool / by Christina Rosalie

A smattering of days, and he’s suddenly different all over again. My heart sometimes aches with the velocity of his changing, like Penelope’s tapestry, each day it must be unraveled and made anew to accommodate the greater love and wonder that I feel.

We went swimming tonight. His first time in a pool. His body abruptly feather light, his pale skin nearly transparent and beautiful. Eyes big, and lashes wet. But seeing is Daddy at the edge produced a thousand grins. Laughing as I blew bubbles near his cheek, he wanted to hold on to the tiled cusp of the pool. Even there, especially there, with the feeling of weightlessness, he wanted to climb.

In the locker room afterwards, sitting on the low blue bench by the wall in his new monogrammed terry robe from his grandma, he watched a three year old boy closely, transfixed. When the boy left, Bean went to each place he had been—touching the bright yellow metal locker, and then the mirror where the boy had stood, pulling on his swimming trunks. This is why I keep coming to the page: the fragility of memory will not hold this sweetness.

The way his hair still smelled faintly of chorine tonight, even after his bath; or the way he now reaches for his stuffed monkey, cupping his face into its fur to go to sleep. I want to capture everything, and startle to realize how I’ve already lost the urgent memory of when he was newborn, or how he used to push up before he could crawl, like some funny seal pup.

There must be some secret in this: that memory only holds so much. Perhaps we would not move with agility into the future of each moment, if we could fully contain the memory of each passing day. But days like today beg for more. More noticing, more attention. I want to saturate myself with this moment: the way the three of us, walking to our car after dinner, were an orb of family. Bean’s tiny legs wrapped round my waist, his arm touching his Daddy’s chest, and around us both, DH’s muscled arms.