I see a father cross the road with his toddler holding his hand. “Come on, come on,” the father says to the boy in that high, little-boy voice you use with toddlers. The tiny toddler in his jeans plods along, cheeky jowels shaking, eyes wide with the world.
Of course it stirs memories of when Jude was that age. Those were tough times, and sweet times. His bright blond, whispy hair. How short he was, and soft. There is a picture David Press took where I am crouched down behind Jude, and he is smiling, and I am holding him around his waist, and his tiny arm. We used to ride my bike down past the airport, and the horse show grounds, and the ranch, to the spring. Jude sailed along in the bike seat behind me. We would coast down a long hill.
Now I drop him off at school, and hand him his backpack in the hallway outside of the classroom, and he says, “goodbye, daddy,” and goes inside to join the hubub.
Moments before, in the car on the way there, after we had dropped Dava off at work, Jude asks, “Daddy, why do you like girls so much?”
I laugh and I say, “I like Dava so much.”
“Because I think she’s very pretty. I like her brown eyes, and I like her brown soft hair, and her beautiful smile. And she’s very nice. And she’s caring. And she cares about you and loves you, which is very important. I wanted a girlfriend who really loves my little Judi boy. And she’s a hard worker. And she’s…she’s just amazing. And she’s a girl, so I like to kiss her and hug her.” I turn around to look at him, to see how he’s reacting.
He looks very thoughtful. I say, “You know what I mean?”
“Uh-huh. You’re telling me about love,” he says.
He is a smart boy.