Violet is three years old now, which makes me think back to when she was three days old. Back then, I can recall wondering to myself, “Man oh man, I wonder what she is going to be like/who she is gonna be, when she is three years old?”
As soon as people find out that you have a baby at home they want to let you know that time flies by.
“Pay attention, hoss,” they tell you with a stern smile, “You pay good close attention because kids grow up real fast and the whole damn thing goes by in the squeak of a frog’s fart.”
To be honest, I took their warnings for granted for awhile. But, you know, I was wrong; I’m always wrong.
Now, my little girl is three and I keep looking around, trying hard to figure out when exactly we pulled in to this particular station. I got on a big bus about thirty seconds ago, people. So what’s going on?
How is this happening?
And in all seriousness: why?
You can stand there in your Levis that you’ve been wearing for like two weeks straight, holding a chewed-up Frisbee while the dog keeps firing perfectly spaced shotgun shells off on the front stoop outside the rickety screen door of your ear, barking his commands at you as if he came and picked you out of a litter four years ago and took you down to the store and bought you a leash and some food and some plastic sheets for you to poop on in the car if you had to take things in that direction while he drove you home to be his muse and his pillow and to lick his bowl when he is done.
You can stand there in all that savage noise of your life popping off/the two p.m. sun beating down on you with a stick made out of sky/and you can watch your daughter chasing one of those dime-a-dozen white butterflies across the yard, the kind that look like two communion wafers eloping on some thermal wind, and you can see her legs carrying her over the new green grass. You can watch, and almost feel it, as her naked feet move her so swift, tagging down in some lush uncut clump of emerald and then launching her back into space as she reaches out to grab at something wilder than any mountain on Earth, something she could never catch in a million years, and when it finally slams into the back of your aging skull that she is growing up now and she is so much more than you could have ever freaking dreamed she would be that first moment you touched her face/her hot pinkishness and fell so madly in love with her that God himself stopped his fishing for a minute and peered down off of the side of his bass boat to see just what a proud papa was hatching down there on that little blue and green rock in the shallows of the deep dark lake: only then will you realize that you are always gonna be a couple of steps behind all the love in your heart because it’s too damn big, man, for even you handle.
Only then, hoss, are you gonna remember to remember what they told you all along.
That it’s fast/fast/fast.
And it’s quick/quick/quick.