This photograph was taken by Eleanor, my first little girl. She’s already a teenager, but she will always be my first little girl. (Bowie, my California baby, is my second.) I don’t really know what Eleanor’s relationship is to me. Sister? Cousin? Friend. What matters is she loves me. This time she took my photograph in the setting sun. Notice the fetching stripes of sun on my face? I think she captured me on my best side.
When Eleanor was very little, she and her little brother, Eliah, used to come bounding into our house for drive-by hugs. Their mother, your daughter, parked in the driveway, put one foot up on the dash, and played Words with Friends while the kids came in for cookies or fruit. Then we’d all chase around the house. I barked and they giggled.
When she comes over now, she still combs and brushes my hair. Sometimes she makes French braids, but when I shake all over, the braids disappear. Then, I’m wild and free again. She spends a long time creating beautiful hair-dos and she doesn’t seem to mind when her artistry is altered. It’s easier for her to brush me now that I’m more mature. She doesn’t have to chase me all around. Afterwards, I still roll around on the rug until my hair returns to normal. I feel much better when she’s finished.
It’s like a mandala. The fun is in the doing. When the beautiful work is complete, the artist pours every grain of sand back into a pile. When I shake, all my hair flows back into its natural pattern and my sprout sticks up on top of my head as usual. It feels much better.
Eleanor and Eliah are taller now, but I stayed the same size. In fact, they are taller than you. From the time I was two years old, I was full grown, but I have a big head. I need every inch of brain to figure things out. What I figured out today is that I will sit quietly for Eleanor when she brushes my hair because she loves the result more than I do and I want her to be happy.
Advice from Oliver: Sometimes we have to sacrifice for love.