My oldest, B, was born on St. Patrick’s day. Up until she was 4 or 5 she thought the annual St. Patrick’s day parade was held in honor of her birthday. Everyone was happy – just like us. Everyone was wearing green – just like us. Everyone wished us a happy St. Patrick’s day, and in her toddler mind that was just another way of wishing her a happy birthday. When she finally realized that everyone was not celebrating her birthday with pitchers of green beer and marching bands and parades, she resorted to tell everyone who wished us a happy St. Patrick’s day that it was her birthday, so they in turn would wish her a happy birthday.
B was nothing if not charmingly resourceful.
When she was a little older, 8 or 9, she became fascinated with dolphins. Everything was dolphins, dolphins, dolphins. We had stuffed ones, we had glass ones, we had plastic dolphins on stretchy bracelets and necklaces. We had books, we had videos, we have annual trips to nearby marine water parks and our butts planted in the grandstand for at least two of the daily dolphin shows every single trip. She was obsessed the way only a grade schooler whose imagination has been captured and family indulged. To this day I see a dolphin anywhere, in any form and I think about my girl.
Shortly after dolphin-mania overtook the household M and I were talking one night about the effects of exercise and the production of endorphins. It was just a casual conversation – M had been out doing a long hike with friends and had come home and was talking about muscle burn and the endorphins swimming in his brain. B perked right up and eagerly asked M about “how did he get dolphins swimming in his brain?” Cracked us up. To this day we cannot hear or contemplate “endorphins” without imagining the good feelings as a schools of dolphins swimming through our heads.
Tonight I got my 30 minutes are cardio and my 5000 meters of rowing done while M heated up our hot tub. We go through months without firing it up, but then once we start using it, we’re in there almost every night to wind down and relax after our days. Since we are starting the conversations and the proposals and bids for updating the pool deck and the other decks and imagining what our back yard will be like this summer when at least one of these projects is complete. We hope, anyway.
But there is something magical about the cooler northern California evenings (sorry east coast readers; our version of “cold” is probably shorts and t-shirt weather to you) and sitting outside in the dark. It’s overcast and we cannot see the stars, but it’s still really nice to sit in our backyard in a tub of hot water, just after a workout, thinking about dolphins and my first born who left this earth far too soon. I miss her, every single day, but I’m incredibly glad I have moments like this to remember with great affection and laughter. After almost 19 years without her, there is only a couple of tears in the remembrances.
I miss you, B. Now and forever more, I will always think of and love you to the farthest corners of heaven and back.