I just looked up into his smiling face yesterday morning and this morning I was told that he is gone. Is that possible? How can life be such a force and yet so fragile and temporary, so quickly gone? It has left me inwardly grasping at the faces and words of those people I see here everyday whom I have come to love; what if they don’t walk in tomorrow?
The loss of a friend who was healthy, strong, and had been playing his harmonica only minutes before his heart stopped is jarring. The tears sprang to my eyes and I felt the loss tangibly in my gut. I will never see his smiling face again and the loss of just those few seconds is enough to break the heart just a bit.
Ayden lost his first tooth this week. He was sitting at a cafe table in the early morning sun playing with legos then in an instant he was in my arms crying and telling me he’d broken his tooth biting a lego. It took a while to reassure him that everything was fine, his tooth didn’t break it was simply coming loose, making space for a better tooth. Within the hour he’d pulled the hanging tooth the rest of the way out and was walking around the cafe proudly showing off his treasure.
The loss of a baby tooth is a milestone in the growing up years. I have that first little tooth now on my shelf in a ziplock baggie to remind me in the decades to come of what a little boy Ayden once was. I feel sure I will never forget that singular quality in Ayden that I will only ever be able to describe with the idea that he’s really just one of the lost boys from Peter Pan and somehow he stumbled out of the fairy tale and into our family. I hope that when I’m 65 and bouncing his babies on my knees I can look across the room and still make out that little lost boy look in his face.