My sister recently gave birth. It was her second—this time a girl; small, beautiful, long fingered. Upon visiting her in the hospital, I was reminded of how delicate a newborn is. Also, in this post, I digress slightly on the topic of grocery shopping at Harris Teeter with my son Henry
Now more than ever, my hometown of Phenix, Virginia, carries with it ghosts. The ghosts of my childhood. Almost fourteen years ago, I wrote these very lines.
It was a path we’d never walked before, its dirt worn trail barely visible on the other side of the lake amongst the pines and oaks. Prior to our entrance, my son crouched down and plucked a bright yellow dandelion from its stem and twirled it between his fingers.
“For mommy,” he informed me.
Fragile, she lay in my arms, as my wife placed the medicine dropper to her mouth. Like nursing an injured little bird back to health, I thought. Against my chest, I could feel her compacted warmth against me. She wouldn’t take to my wife’s breast in the beginning, so this is how we fed her those first few weeks of life.
In the rearview, I glance back at my son Henry. He’s wearing a black t-shirt that has on its front drawings of insects, different kinds, beetles and flies—bugs that shout, “I am a boy!” He moves the toy truck into the air as if it has wings and glides on air.
“Do you know what my favorite thing to do with my dad was when I was growing up,” I ask Henry.