Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Welcome to the world.

This is my niece Ruth Nightingale. She is five weeks and three days old. She is absolutely the most stunning amazing beautiful thing I have ever seen. She is part my brother and part my sister in law and she has my grandfather’s eyebrows and when I hold her she stares up at me and sometimes she reaches her hand and puts it against my chin and I know she knows I’m her aunt. And that, unfortunately, one day, those eyebrows might grow together and I will have to teach her about getting waxed. Unless she has her mothers eyebrows, which are lovely and thin and sort of perfect. Every time I think about her I can’t believe she exists and I wish I were closer to her. But she lives on a mountaintop in Vermont where her parents built a lovely yellow house that sort of feels like it sits in this place of peace and calm on top of everything. She is going to grow up and know how to cook the most delicious things with three ingredients like her dad, and make chandeliers and collaged birthday cards and paintings and postcards like her mom and she is going to ride horses and play basketball and be the most beautiful and loved and strong and brilliant girl this world has yet seen.

And one day she’s going to read my book. And I hope it’s the kind of book that tells a certain truth to her. But I also hope that it’s unfamiliar to her. I keep thinking about her now as I’m writing because I’m thinking about all of the things that make Nadio and Noelle real and sad and hopeful to whomever will read them. I don’t want Ruth to ever feel sad over a boy or alienated by her friend or angry at her mom or scared of what she might want or exhilarated by not knowing. But maybe we all feel these things and that’s why we write about them...

But she’s pretty perfect, my niece. I can’t wait to go through this life with her.

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