I really should quit watching it.
The Walking Dead. It's just this stupid show about zombies but UGH I am ridiculously invested in these characters. I know I need to emotionally detach a bit, but tonight it has really upset me and I just can't seem to stop thinking about it. I'm too invested, and I know it's silly - but I can't sleep. In an effort to steady my heart , I search my mind for something to change the topic. It doesn't take me long to land on a truly joyful thought:
A scene from the day plays out in my mind.
She's at the top of a slide. I'm waiting for her at the bottom so she doesn't fly off and hurt herself. Our eyes meet. A wide, toothy grin takes up her whole face; the whole room, it seems. It shouts of joy and mischief and delight all at once. She propels herself down the slide. Too fast. It's a good thing I'm at the bottom to catch her. She giggles and slithers out of my arms before I can kiss her. Her little hips wiggle as only a toddler's can as she hurries to the ladder to do it again.
I snap a mental picture of This Grin on This Day and I play it over and over and over. Slowly my anxiety fades and I'm calm enough to go to sleep. I tuck it away in my tiny mind palace for safe keeping.
This restaurant is loud but dinner with my family is going surprisingly well. The girls are all excited about ice cream for dessert, so conversation has been easier than it usually is when we're out to eat. Ruby looks up at me from her booster seat and smiles. I look across the table and ask my sister,
"Do you know that Billy Joel song? "She's Got A Way"?"
"Yes of course", she says. My mom and stepdad are chewing but they nod that they are familiar with the tune as well.
"That line in it... 'she's got a smile that heals me'... do you know that one?"
"I feel that way about Ruby's grin."
"Absolutely. Yes. You are so right." Everyone nods in agreement. It's settled. That line is most definitely about her.
Nothing more needs to be said and now Ruby is thirsty, so I help her to reach for her water and I wonder to myself just how many, many hearts this little girl will help heal with that smile.