Well. I was going to write a piece inspired by tomorrow's scripture reading, where John the Baptist comes out of the wilderness wearing camel's hair "with a leather belt around his waist," eating honey and locusts. And about the dove descending from the heavens during the baptism of Jesus and the whole great, infinitely comforting "you are my beloved" business. I was going to write about the past few weeks, when my sister and her boys were here. About how we skied together, all in a big pack of happy, cold, winter-loving family-ness. About how we cooked and baked and ate and talked; how the kids played board games and built with Legos (I have photographic proof of the teenagers doing this). How we celebrated Christmas and three birthdays. How we laughed and cried and slept in all kinds of crazy, close-breathing configurations, just so we wouldn't be too far away from each other for a short time. I was going to write about all of that, and also maybe throw in a bit about how some folks I care about are going through some hard times these days, and how it's the usual line-up of suffering: cancer; love; death. About how important it is to listen to what people need to say during these times. How hard it is and how great it is and how absurd it is, this human condition thing.
But, it's Coco's tenth birthday today, and so instead I offer a tribute to one of the most beautiful, inspirational people I've ever known. That I gave birth to her is only a bonus; she is the light of this world and I am nothing if not deeply honored to walk with her through our days. I don't know anyone else who packs as much life into life as Helen Cooper Hood Eyre. Happy birthday, my sweet angel of love. "If you were the winter, I know I'd be the snow. As long as we're together let the cold winds blow."