Ode to the Child

She is chubby fingers and strawberry blonde hair, whispy and thin like sun-bleached wheat.
In the morning, she is eyes squinted with sleep, little slits against a soft, pale face.
She is legs too young and stiff for normal steps, walking deliberate, zombie-like.
She is fearless, words proclaimed with puffed chest, rosy cheeks.
At lunchtime, she is yogurt and squash on her nose, shirt, shoes.
She is pudgy hands that do not yet know the weight of utility bills, insurance payments, gas prices.
At two years old, she is the things we too often forget—how to love, effortlessly—an unplanned smile, a shared laugh.