If, when I get old, I lose my memory and people and places fade from my mind, I want one of the few memories I keep to be this one.
This afternoon, I played with Ainslie in our living room, tossing her in the air over and over again to hear her laugh. Up she'd go, screaming with joy, and just as her ascent reached its zenith, she'd look up at the world around her, past me to see what lay beyond, smiling at all of it in her new, higher and momentary perch on the air. I caught her and tossed her up again and again, until my arms were tired and I was out of breath, at which time simply stopping our fun seemed anticlimactic, so I wrapped her legs around my waist and put my arms behind her back and spun in place. Without missing a beat, Ainslie leaned back onto my arms and let her hands fly free, throwing her head back as well, closing her eyes and smiling a smile that I recognized from the times I've been completely in a moment, closing my eyes to try to remember it forever.
And I was completely blown away by this.
She was so beautiful there, that smile, trusting me to hold onto her, her arms stretched wide and her hair sticking straight up with the force of our spin. I got too dizzy and we both collapsed onto the floor looking at each other and giggling, out of breath from our fun. And she looked at me like I was exactly what she'd imagined me to be while she was waiting to be born, wondering who was connected to the heartbeat she constantly heard.
Even if Ainslie grows up to be the first female president or finds a cure for the common cold or invents the first biodegradable soda can, this is how I want to remember her when I'm old and gray.