The Best of the Best (Ten today)

July 30, 2016

We are in Carlsbad, parked in a cool-shady spot near the beach, car lounging before the next game. The slogan of this soccer tournament boasts that only the best of the best walk through the gates to compete on their well-groomed fields. My daughter and her teammates deserve to be here…on some days. When they want to–her included—they are unstoppable. When they don’t, they’re not. 17 year olds are like that, I guess. They can taste freedom to make their own mistakes just at the other end of the table.
This daughter, like her older sister, I know so well and don’t know at all. Her cynical, critical eye is inherited. Her sensed, inarticulable experience of the world is inherited. Her logic, forethought, anxiety and perfectionism are inherited too. She’s more outer driven, while I’m more inner. I want to live up to my own standards. She needs a watcher, a fan and a stern stick behind her.
But I respect her. She knows what she wants, I trust, and will have to figure out from where her limitations come should she decide to exceed and conquer them. I give her words and a model. And while my older daughter allowed me to help her, push her to push herself, this one never has–not in the same way. They’re a study in people hood. How humans fulfill their cellular and cultural destinies–endlessly fascinating, the best of the best.

Barbie Nervosa

Every day.

She has to check daily.

Call me on the land line.

See if her world has changed.

“Are the flavors the same today?”

(All of my safe favorites still there?)

I nervously reply raspberry is now coffee.

The tiniest quake shivers her cheerful ‘ok’.

When she arrives in wide white tooth smile,

starlets gleaming in sky tan framed platinum,

a quiver tremulates pout-lush berry fleshy lips.

She forms turrets rather than swirls circles;

soft, firm, frozen layers sweet comfort most,

aligned to spun circadian rhythm, but not hers.

She builds towers tall enough to see over the walls

she maintains securely protecting hers and her own.

All colors should reach beyond the brim, peak and peer

over the fortress, showy containment, before consumption,

her life’s patch-quilt texture sewn so tightly no thread strays,

not an inch, and the pared tan arms and legs, plumped bone, lay

testament to the sacrifices she makes to keep a world’s seams intact.