Eleanor fell off the monkey bars at school yesterday. She knocked out a front tooth. The teacher said there was a lot of blood from her gum and her nose. Cathy had to go and get her, and I had to leave a class and go and get Rosamund from creche. When I got home Eleanor was lying on the living room floor watching TV. I lay down beside her and gave her a cuddle, and she showed me the hole where her tooth had been. A gap in her beautiful smile. I wanted to tell her a lot of things then, but I just gave her a cuddle. Cathy took her to the dentist who said there was no need to worry. He gave Eleanor a surgical glove blown up into a balloon and a copy of the x-ray to take to school. In the x-ray you can see her adult tooth sitting in the gum waiting to come down. In time.
In the morning you slept late. You came into the kitchen after I had finished my breakfast with great excitement and breathlessly told me that the tooth fairy had come. You held up the little bag where your tooth had been and showed me the gold coin. You told me that tonight you would look at the night sky to see the brand new star that the fairies had made out of your tooth, and I said I would like you to show it to me. We fill you up with these dreams and fantasy and hope they will carry you through, and lift you over the difficulties that lie like snakes in the long grass. Perhaps we can go buy something tomorrow with the money the tooth fairy left. Perhaps you can charm the shop assistant with your new smile.
On the way up the drive to school this morning I saw a little bird on the ground. A tiny little, raw looking fledgling who must have fallen from a tree and died. It was no more than the size of a two dollar coin. I wondered what to do. Should I brush it out of sight, or leave it there to sadden the people who would walk up the hill behind me. I thought of the nest somewhere high above in the limbs of the trees, and the uselessness of life sometimes when anything can be taken at any time. This is what life is made up of I suppose; love as a compensation for pain and loss. In the end I walked on and left the little bird there where it had fallen.
Last night I was led to this video by another blog, and it struck me with the force of its beauty. Its longing. Its romanticism. Isn’t wonderful to be young? But doesn’t it hurt sometimes? So I have to stand both beside and far away from you Eleanor. Save you from some harm, and watch as you find heartbreak for yourself and grow up. Lord knows it is hard, but I have you in my heart. Tonight let’s look for your star.