O Evabird, yesterday you mastered the wave. For months, I've practiced with you, lifted your wrist and said over and over, Say Bye-bye. Say love you. For a while you turned your palm towards yourself and opened and closed your fingers. The other way, I said and turned your hand. Say Bye-bye to Daddy. Or Nana. Or Mimi. Or Poppy. Or Grandpa. Or Auntie CC. Bye-bye to whoever it was who had been with us and was leaving.
And so this morning, when I had to head back to work at NYU for the first time since you were born, it broke my heart a little to watch you wave at me. All day, if I closed my eyes too long, you'd be there waving. I bragged a little, and a dear friend declared saying goodbye a "useful skill."
Much of the day, I took notes, wrote words like essay and glass and RAIN in all caps; sympathetic vibration; LOVE; arpeggio; dream. It felt good to find myself in another mind--an old familiar mind--but as good as it felt, towards the end of the day, I noticed something else: I had doodled birds all along the edges of the paper. Nothing exquisite or detailed, the same simple birds that littered all my childhood drawings, little more than upside down w's, but there they were: everywhere.
In essay, we teach that if you're truly engaged you can't really leave something, that you have to return to it, that that original thing has done such work on your mind and your thinking that it has left an indelible mark on you. I think--at least in this instance--we may very well be right.