When I was a baby, growing into a toddler, a neighborhood girl used to come over every day after school. I’m fuzzy on the details–I was so little. But my mother told me about her, later, after we left New Zealand: how Jane used to dote on me like a living doll. I don’t not remember her. She sent a postcard with a little painted red squirrel on the front, to America, to me, from New Zealand. And I clearly remember this: one day my brother and I were in their backyard with Jane and all of her siblings. I think there were five of them. Jane was the youngest of these almost-grown kids. Her brother Tony was the next-youngest. And the rest were just big and bigger. They had a hammock, and they’d placed us little ones in the center of it, with older kids on either side, checking we didn’t fall, making sure we had fun. By this time, a paralyzing shyness, that would last years, had begun to take hold. But this moment, in this backyard, was OK. I felt a happiness spreading: like being that small was a virtue to be celebrated, by this consensus of very big kids who were so tall, every time I looked up at their warm, smiling faces I got the sun in my eyes.

Published by msdeer

I am an interdisciplinary artist, slightly incognito here.

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