…and I mean that in the best way.
How this now headless trophy ended up in our New York apartment after multiple moves and even more “We’ve got to rid ourselves of material attachments” purges is beyond me. The only thing I can say about it having stuck around (as opposed to having been thrown in the garbage) is that it made a pretty good door stop.
If you could read the nameplate on the trophy–now scratched beyond recognition, having been bumped hundreds of times by the door–it would say “Most Outstanding Student, 1995.” I was awarded the trophy in high school, a superlative that confirmed I was someone special, someone with a future, someone on the right path, someone accomplished, with “promise.”
But an almost 2-year old child neither knows nor cares about all that. She carries the statue around your apartment because she thinks it’s funny– this centurion with his shield and his helmet that looks like a Mohawk. She drops it, over and over again, and his helmet chips.
Finally, his head cracks and falls off.
This is a self your child will never know, and though silly, it prompts you to consider all the versions of the person you’ve been, the person you are even now, who will never be fully accessible to your child, whether by circumstance and the immutable progression of time, or by choice.
The statue produces a constellation of emotions; the self who won it–the very memory of winning just barely accessible now– Who is she now? Who has she become? There’s no sadness, but curiosity and anticipation.
Who will her daughter become?