“Will you bathe me in the sink, like you used to when I was a baby?”
It’s summer. Outside in the desert, it is hot and dry. The grandparents are sitting at their kitchen table watching the exchange between daughter and granddaughter. Their only granddaughter, three years old, is undressed by their second daughter, the one with children. She places the little girl in the metal sink, delighting in the joy, the care, and the love of her mother.
But she is too big. She does not fit in the basin as she once did. She has grown, no longer an infant, but a toddler, who walks and talks and recalls memories she does not really remember. And she forms ideas now and begins to think of her place in the world.
“I don’t fit anymore.” A sudden sadness takes over her. Awareness of her small-largeness, of her growing body’s unstoppable journey, of being a separate entity from her mother – these things float in her tadpole brain, not quite named, but felt as children feel. ‘One day too, I will die.’
Spring and Fall
By Gerard Manley Hopkins
To a young child
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.