You are 16 months old and are learning to say things like “eye” and “soulier” (which currently takes the form of “shh shh” and you, pointing down at my foot).
When your mum asks you “Ruby, c’est ou ton bouton?” You lift up your shirt and show us your beautiful round belly and point to that one spot in the middle that allowed you to be brought into this world.
You love to dance by shaking your bum and throwing your arms up in the arm at random moments. You are like a magnet to anything expensive-like cell phones and cameras.
Mostly though, you really love to show me your books and listen to your maman read them to you.
And today Ruby, I went and listened to David Bouchard tell stories at the library, and I wished you were there.
He talked about being a father, an author and Métis. He told us how he gets to travel all around the world and how much he loves it, but it also makes him sad, because he has to be away from his 10 years old daughter.
But don’t worry, because every single night, he goes on his computer and reads her a bedtime story and then blows her a kiss, and it flies right to her, right through the computer screen and onto her cheek.
He played his drum for us, and sang a story. He showed us the eagle feather and the sweet grass that he keeps inside of his drum. Did you know that an eagle is a scared animal because it flies close to the creator and sees everything and knows what is true? And did you know that sweet grass is braided like hair because it is the hair of Mother Earth? He told us so today at the library.
He told something else too. He told us how important it is for kids to read. He told us how he didn’t read as a kid because he has this thing called dyslexia and that means that things get mixed up in his head. He thought this meant he couldn’t read or that is wasn’t important. But then he told us how, when the creator gives you a problem, he also gives you a solution. And he learned that he could read things that had rhythm. And he writes books now. He has written lots and lots of them. And they have beautiful pictures, and the words have rhythm. And he writes for kids like him, who have trouble reading. He writes so that kids will read.
I bought you one of his books today called “If You’re Not from the Prairie...” and I can’t wait to read it with you.
Love, Auntie Courtney
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Courtney Slobogian likes to sit quietly memorizing all of the reasons she is in love with this city. She graduated from University of Winnipeg in 2007 with her BA in Women’s and Gender studies. Her honours thesis was entitled “mother[loss]: An exploration of our silences in grief and longing.”
She is putting that degree to use mostly by insisting that there is a need for theory in everything. Along with writing academic papers for fun, she finds herself constantly playing with poetry (where it is desire, and not theory, that she finds most useful).
By day she busies herself with women’s reproductive health issues, by night she rides her bike.