Anthony brought over a beautiful piñata, covered in pink and purple crepe paper and silver-starred foil. He and Mark strung it on an extension cord with one end tied to the basketball hoop. Then Mark walked the other end a little ways up the hill in our parents’ backyard.
And when it is your very first time, there is no blindfold. There is no one spinning you by the shoulders until you’re so dizzy you stumble to where you think the piñata might be, then swing the bat at nothing, just the air.
“Here you go. Hit it.” tap tap. Can you hit it?”
No no, she shakes her head. She shoves away the bat. She grabs for my neck.
She is as cautious about this as she is about anything.
(It is not entirely a question of age and experience. Alice has a baby cousin, only five months older. His turn was next. He took the bat from his dad, and he swung it. Bam bam bam. A mover, a jumper, a runner, a climber.
Alice gets quiet. She watches and she waits until she knows she is ready. Already, she is just that way.)
I wanted her to have streamers and pin the tail on the donkey. I wanted her to see the piñata finally crack and the candy hang for a moment in the air before scattering over the grass. How lucky we are.
Here are some more backyard photos, these by the wildly talented Maria Torres:
But this one is my favorite. Because – needing balance, needing reassurance, needing attention – she tugs on the bottom of my skirt.