Thursday, November 18, 2010


Oh whisper me words in the shape of a bay… Shelter my love from the wind and the waves…

My daughter’s Facebook status quietly switched from “single” to “in a relationship” one day. That is the way of things now. The way that these things are announced. It is puppy love, filled with youth and dreams.

“He listens to me… and he doesn’t try to fix me…” she said one day. And I smile. Remembering.

I walked in earlier and she was talking to him. I could tell just by watching her body language. There was an electricity that is alive there… it is almost visible. And it reminded me of those times so long past.

She is metal ore… valuable but unformed. She and her beau could take any shape that her imagination drives her toward.

But my relationship was beaten into shape long ago. Tempered through heat and quenched in cooling waters. It has been hammered and curved, and then hammered again until it formed a definitive and beautiful shape of our making. It has been polished, bright… and then, as is often the case, it grew tarnished through neglect. Not purposefully… but because there are so many other things that needed tending. It gets an occasional buffing, brightening it for a moment or two. But it is an artifact now.

Hanging in the galleries of the world are thousands of similar works of art, admired for their technique and their skill. But lost in all of these works is that moment when the artist sat in front of the canvas, blank and white. Before the brush made its first stroke. When all was potential. That moment when the electricity was palpable. All that remains is the artifact which attempted to capture the immense beauty in their inner vision.

The artifact that is mine is beautiful… there can be no doubt. It means the world to me. It created a world that I inhabit and breathed life into three souls that have changed forever my place in the world. And time and oxygen might conspire to makes its surfaces less shiny, but the beauty is still visible, even if faded.

But I can’t help but feel that bite of nostalgia when I see the crease of a smile and excitement cross her lips as she talks to him. She is an artist in front of her blank canvas… and I wonder if the vision she will paint will truly match what is in her mind’s eye now. Or if that is even possible.


  1. My children haven't found love yet but I do remember when the world hadn't formed them yet, when they were helpless trusting babies and I know what you mean about that blank canvas that bit by bit fills itself with beauty and all the other things like disappointment, surprise, pride, etc. It's pretty cool.

    Don't mourn the blank canvas. Treasure the beauty of the artifact.

  2. This is so sweet (and bitter sweet). I admire that you can look at your daughter's budding interest with such equanimity and kindness. I mean, it's good that you don't want to kill the boy.

  3. @BEG... i think nostalgia is different than mourning. nostalgia catches you unaware for a moment... mourning sits on your shoulder like a weight. But there are days when remembering the potential that was and is no more feels a lot like mourning.

    @AWIP... you think this is a sigh... listen to the song it is based on. from an aussie named emily barker. but then you might know that.

    @YGTBKM... I never said I like it... :) I just blog kindly.

  4. my sister convinced my nephew that she could tell he's been kissing by her keen sense of smell. then she warned him of cold sores and other such viruses. she's such a romantic.

    your treatment is kinder...and i'm glad she picks one that doesn't want to fix her. that's important.

  5. so beautiful...i had not heard her, but you are so right.


  6. "Not purposefully… but because there are so many other things that needed tending. It gets an occasional buffing, brightening it for a moment or two. But it is an artifact now." You speak the truth.

    I envy that time, too. Nice that you can appreciate her opportunity and where she is, instead of being suspicious and immediately protective. Sometimes we can protect our kids right out of the opportunities they so desire and deserve.

  7. My canvas has many layers....I love gesso. Both your sight and your vision are such a gift.

  8. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

  9. Do you really have a girl old enough to have a "relationship" on facebook? God, where did our time go? Wait til you have to start beating them off with a bat, cause any kid of yours is gonna be gorgeous. Good luck, Dad.