Ez was up until three this morning. I think she was really excited that the second short book that I’ve written about her, Whoosh, came out today.
I’m excited too. When I woke up this morning the first thing I did was check to see if my pre-order had downloaded on my Kindle app for my iPhone. And, it had! Later today I plan to sit down and re-read it carefully, as if I am seeing it for the first time.
This story has been one of the most difficult things I have ever written, because it has been so hard for me to get a handle on. It is unbelievably confusing to understand how fragile life can be when that lesson plays out in your child.
Writing it has also made me, somehow, surrender to that story. It is part of Esmé’s story–of my story. It is part of who we are. It will not be boxed up and set aside. I cannot pretend it never happened. But I can accept it. I can tell all of you about it…and there is a kind of power in that kind of surrender.
Soon after events that I describe in Whoosh, I went and got a small tattoo on my wrist–a bee–as a reminder of Esmé and everything she’d been through. I never really felt like the tattoo was finished, though. There was something missing, something off-balance about it. Over the four years since I go this tattoo I have fantasized about finishing it in various elaborate ways. I have thought about growing the tattoo, adding a garden to set the bee in or setting it with the words of one of Esmé’s children’s books, Mon Petit Amour. I thought about adding another bee, following the existing one.
But nothing ever felt quite right. My vision for it seemed too blurry to act upon.
About a month ago I started to talk with a tattoo artist about it. We spent some time drawing and looking over Esmé’s favorite books together. We made a plan. We set a date.
It just happened that the date we set was today, the 15th: The day Whoosh was officially brought into the world. I didn’t really even make the connection until this morning. As we sat talking this morning we both agreed that the plan we had made was not quite the right thing after all. We didn’t need to add flowers, or another bee, or words.
We didn’t need to change the thing that was already there.
Instead we needed to acknowledge the path that brought the bee there, that brought me there. And, so, he tattooed the path right there on my wrist…the loops and love and energy along the path to here, drawn out in a handful of little dots on my arm. It was no great intervention, just an acknowledgement of the journey. A re-establishment of balance.
And a chance to look forward at what might be next…