You often wear this simple string of red beads and those beads seem to epitomize you. The beads are rough cut, almost as if they had been tubes of pasta sawed into short sections. They are irregular, but they fit together somehow, jostled into place by the swift movement of your body through space. These beads are the perfect compliment to your many carefully curated ensembles. You are always elegant, but also, impossibly, playground friendly. It's a style that many have imitated and, I think, few have pulled off with your effortless grace.
You encouraged me to start letting my children go their own way when my daughter was still in my womb. You invited my son into school though he was not quite two.
"He needs a place of his own," you said.
When I asked you why my son was so violent, when I wondered if maybe his hitting would be a problem later on, you answered, "Boys kill."
It was simple and, I think, true. "Let him run a little," you said. "He has a good heart. He'll be fine."
At that time, your blunt advice was a consolation. Another time, it seemed tactless and unthinking. But I reminded myself that you had a good heart. That you would -- that we would -- be fine. And we were. You even, still occasionally mention this time as if to remind me of the long past we have shared. It's true. We have history. We have shared the whole of my daughter's life and nearly all of the life of my son. This history has held me like a magnet, securing me in our community.
When you eat, you eat whole grains. Bread, avocado, beans and rice. You eschew sweets. Except that time when you ran your fingers over a plate that held brownies and licked them clean. Except when you decide sweets are good.
You are one of my fans. I return that favor.
Happy new year, you.