It was biting, windy, cold in San Francisco on Monday. The day that we stepped out of the Giradelli’s chocolate shop, just across from the bay in fisherman’s wharf. Too cold, with too little warm weather gear, but our hearts were full and we were together and we window shopped at the boutique next door and looked at all the pretty lovelies and our eyes sparkled.
And out on the sidewalk stood a man with an open music case, playing his heart out on his saxaphone and your eyes got all big and astonished when you heard him, blowing that crazy-cool sound. And in that moment I remembered how on the airplane, it was the jazz music coming through your headphones that made you laugh hardest. You do have such an ear for music, darling. You are you father’s child.
We stood on that concrete in the western windy city and watched that man blow his heart out through his metal instrument and our hearts started leaping too, yours and mine. And that was when we danced, you in my arms, nine years old and on my hip, hand in hand we danced wild on that cement dance floor. And your laughter rang out and the man just lit up – you gave him your joy as a gift, just threw it right across the space that separated us, him a hungry musician, and you a well-loved child. And then he played even harder for you – you brought out his best.
And mine too, for you my first child with that same wildness inside of you. The same ache for adventure, the same crazy longing for adrenaline. You love change as I do, travel as I do, getting-started-right-away as I do. And we spun and twirled as fourteen year old Naomi begged us to stop, quietly in the background, as young teens will, desperate to avoid public humiliation.
But you never thought of that. And I did, but only briefly. I thought of how I am not very good at dancing, of how I never even tried it till I was all grown up. I thought of how heavy you were in my arms and how my whole back ached. But the rush of the dancing, the intoxication of your head-back smile. The wind over our bodies, warm together. Well, it kind of swept those thoughts right out of my mind.
That was how we danced, you and I. And when daddy came out and watched us, he gave you money for the musician and you didn’t know any better so you just ran up and interrupted his playing to hand it straight to him, never mind that silly music case.
And I saw in his eyes that the gift you had already given him was so much more than any money could ever be.
Little girl your wild, joyful freedom is making my heart burst into bloom. Never lose that, my Ava bird, your crazy-high soaring and swooping, for through it you will change the world. The wild is in our bones, it’s in our blood, we know that we were made for greater things than any ordinary life – now to have the courage to live it out.