This is a teachable moment, I thought, chatting with my younger daughter after returning from an event I was almost too tired to attend. “Half of life is just showing up,” I told her, “Especially when you don’t feel like it. I had great conversations with x, y, and z, you remember x, y, and z?, we talked about…”
I noticed mid-stream that she was petting the dog, totally tuned out, and it occurred to me – Half of life is just shutting up, too. Oh dear, not my strong suit.
Bacon wasn’t actually supposed to be back until September, but I came across a poem that I simply must share Right Now. It’s in the most wonderful collection, Good Poems, Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor (2003). I’ve been dipping in and out of this collection all summer, a summer in which I’ve been helping the older daughter get ready to leave for college. She’s gone now – and sometimes a poem helps.
A Little Tooth
by Thomas Lux
Your baby grows a tooth, then two,
and four, and five, then she wants some meat
directly from the bone. It’s all
over: she’ll learn some words, she’ll fall
in love with cretins, dolts, a sweet
talker on his way to jail. And you,
your wife, get old, flyblown, and rue
nothing. You did, you loved, your feet
are sore. It’s dusk. Your daughter’s tall.
* * *
I’m not the sort of person to rue nothing. But – one can think – I’ve tried.
* * *
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