I have a vague memory of coming to Garland Park with my aunt and my brother, and a man who might have been my aunt's boyfriend, but who could just as well have been a friend. He was tall and lean, dark of hair and skin, with long arms and legs, and a Spanish-sounding name like Luis or Carlos or something. The trail from the parking lot to the waterfall is a bit over a mile with a small incline—no problem for me now, of course, and I've done it dozens of times by this point, but for a bookish and whiny five-or-six-year-old, it was a bit much. At one point either I or my brother—I can't remember which—got tired and demanded to be carried.
The hill isn't too bad even for a desk jockey like my modern-day self, but as I remember it, Carlos-or-Luis-or-whatever perspired like I'd never seen a person do before. (I'm sure that having an extra thirty or forty pounds on his back contributed to his exertion.) He wiped his brow with one palm and flung a handful of sweat along the side of the trail. I can't remember his name or his face, but I still remember the gooey glisten of the droplets as they landed on the dirt.
I fret a lot about how to raise my daughter to be a strong, empowered individual, a person who doesn't value herself solely based on her appearance, and so I used to imagine my daughter as a tomboy. As it turns out, what she really loves is nail polish and dresses and princesses and pink. Maybe this will change when she gets older. Maybe not. Ultimately, it's not up to me to decide what femininity or even feminism means to her. In the meantime, at least I can be happy that we like the same snacks.
I've been getting up earlier for the past couple of months, which means I've been able to take Jason to school in the mornings. I like having the little bit of extra time with him, and getting to see him with his friends and in his new environment. Walking back to my car by myself after the bell rings, though, is a little... lonely, I suppose.