23 Months / by Christina Rosalie

Dear Bean, The sentences have begun. Verbs strung together with prepositions and nouns; laughter punctuating the funny parts.

In the bath tonight, the water up past your frog belly, and your sandy hair flecked with droplets, you pulled a pair of your summer sunglasses connected by an elastic band up around your legs. “Like pulling underwear on,” you said, enunciating every syllable of underwear carefully, grinning from ear to ear. Indeed. Just like that.

Or earlier driving home, watching the dalmation dots of snow falling against the inky dark of night—and you said, “It’s snowing out there!”

It’s amazing how tense has suddenly started to inhabit your language and your world. Present participles are flecked across the juicy terrain of your vocabulary like seeds in a wedge of watermelon. I love watching you unwrap language, making it yours. You’re so close to the dynamic, wild part of language that beats right at the heart of meaning and emotion, that you can still get away with making words when you can’t say the ones we use. I wish I could still do as much. Love seems like such a small word when I ask it to describe the endless scope of my feelings for you.

I picture you one day reading through this stack of letters, that I've typed and once posted on a long-defunct blog, and I wonder what you’ll be like then. Tall. Maybe with a kid of your own. I try to fathom you with chest hair, and my brain lurches to a full stop. Something about watching you grow has planted me unequivocally within the time-space continuum of now the way nothing else ever has. Before you, I lived with the delusion that I could imagine the future; that if I planned or tried, the outcome would be certain. Now I see how impossible this is, and how foolhardy. There is nothing but now, with your little off-tune songs, and your new big-boy underpants, and your glasses of milk.

Nothing but right now:

You take my face in your hands after I pick you up from daycare at the gym and pull me close. Then you kiss me, a smile beaming across your face.

On your yellow plastic sled, you are a red sausage of snowsuit and rosy cheeks. You zip by in a blur, with perfect balance, leaning from one side to the other like you’ve been sledding for years. And you’re grin at the bottom of the hill? Nothing could be more beautiful.

You’re eating vanilla ice cream with warm cherries. You stir the cream in the bowl as it melts, your face covered with purple syrup. Then you pick the bowl up and your face disappears behind it’s dome. You drink, then smack your lips, then lick the edges of the bowl.

I come home after work, and you’re there, eating snack with daddy. Your face is covered with peanut butter, and your hair tousled. You run to me, arms perpendicular to your body, a jet plane of affection zeroing in on me.

I love you,