At some point you’ll hear the expression, “in vino veritas,” which loosely translates to “drunk people don’t lie.” Well, today you encountered a very drunk young lady on the train. Some drunk people are very mean and say things like, “I’d rather see Donald Trump take the White House than have to take this Uber home with you.” Others are more kind, still, both types of drunk professions are generally delivered with about as much forethought as displayed by the man I saw eating Chipotle on his way to an interview last week.
The good news is that the lush you encountered today was sweet. She leaned over into our seat and with her stinky breath slurred, “I just need to tell you, your daughter is gorgeous. And she probably doesn’t know it yet. And if she is like many other women, she probably never will know it. But I really hope she realizes it some day. I really do. You done good, mom. You done good.” You looked up at her and cocked your head to the side. I think you were trying to figure out how someone wearing a Mets tee could possess such good judgement, but you quickly thought better of spending too long assessing that paradox and offered a simple (and adorable) “thank you.” As the woman lingered for many moments too long, mommy was left feeling perplexed and unsure of whether to be proud or worried.
I think, Eva, that what worried me most is not this idea that you may never realize your beauty, but the even greater fear that you may come to see yourself as beautiful, but for all the wrong reasons. And, so, I thought it important to take a moment to tell you of the several moments that your beauty has been so profound, it has quite literally taken my breath away:
Ok, sure, you can pull off a diaper and dorky glasses with as much punch as Natalie Portman with a bald head, but that’s not the point. This was the first day you counted to 20, without saying 17 three times in a row. I thought my heart was going to explode. In fact, your continued aptitude for puzzles and numbers leaves me with little doubt that you’ll be one of those #girlsthatcode, teaching daddy how to better navigate that Excel spreadsheet in no time.
You weren’t two yet, but you insisted on carrying your own baggage through LaGuardia airport. And in that tiny little suitcase you were carrying so much more than three diapers and a Peppa Pig doll. You were also carrying my sanity. And good thing, because mommy had popped her last Xanax on the outbound flight.
There aren’t very many two year-olds that have spent as much time visiting hospitals as you have, and for that I am very sorry. But each time you walk into that room and look at your sullen, bed-ridden mommy, your smile stretches so wide that it hits me like a mega-dose of Dilaudid. And for as long as your visits last I feel no pain, just a euphoric happiness. The way you put your fears aside, and focus on the moment; on your joy of being reunited. It’s a tremendous gift you have, and I thank you for sharing it with me in those moments I need it most.
Contrary to popular belief, that is not a poster of a tiger on the wall. That tiger was stalking you harder than Steve Urkel on Laura Winslow. But you didn’t even flinch. And if the tantrum that you threw on the monorail a few moments earlier was any indication, that tiger had no idea what kind of fight he was in for.
And perhaps my proudest moment. When asked to play dress-up and pose in a Barbie box photo-prop, you screamed, “NO! I am NOT a PRINCESS! I am NOT a Barbie! I EVA!”
‘Nuff said, kid. ‘Nuff said.
Keep on keepin’ on,