I walked her down to the Geary Street bus graveyard on Saturday, and we looked at the hundreds of buses sitting there abandoned for the weekend. The facility takes up a few full blocks and we walked around the entire thing, me repeating the word to her. Bus, Juney: bus.

She looked at all of them with me, solemn and soaking it in, not saying a word. For months I have pointed out every bus we've ridden or seen on the street, but she's never gotten any closer than Bup. It's that pesky voiceless alveolar sibilant again.

I think it was Walker Percy, writing to his old friend Shelby Foote, who once claimed that Shakespeare had it easy. He pointed out that Shakespeare came along at the birth of the modern English language, when all of his brilliant lines and aphorisms sat like low-hanging fruit from the lexical sapling of the modern English tongue. The rest of us, he considered, have it hard: trying to come up with new ways to say the things that people have always felt, new phrases and words in which to wrap our truths.

One of the greatest gifts of becoming a parent, I think, is having the opportunity to observe the moments in your child's life that you cannot remember in your own, from those first bright, cold days, the pummeling of everything being new, through when their own memories hatch. I doubt this ever ends; I doubt kids' lives ever cease to bring perspective to their parents' own pasts. With Juniper these days I am still struck by the overwhelming newness of everything. I try to compare it to things that I can remember: stepping out of a plane into a foreign country, for example, searching desperately for what is familiar yet marveling at everything that is new. Maybe there's a reason you can't remember what it was like to be a baby; memory must be a particularly unsuitable medium to store such intensity of feeling, in the same way one can't remember anything about an afternoon spent with some particularly good psilocybin mushrooms.

There is a certain simplicity in Juniper's perception that I almost envy, a very primitive but beautiful sense of abstraction. Picasso once said that it was a little-known secret that Henri Matisse developed his signature style only after he had children, that it was the influence of his babies and their sensibility that allowed him to paint the way he did, with what Picasso called, "the straightforward simplicity of children's art."

Yesterday I was running with Juniper in the park and I looked down on the ground and saw a carefully folded twenty dollar bill and no one around to claim it. I found this money because I have spent most of my life staring down at my feet, thinking about "the road ahead," the next steps. When I'm riding the bus or grocery shopping nearly all of my thoughts are about what I need to get done and the best way to do it. For Juniper it's not that way at all, I know, as she constantly reminds me. I still carry this tiny child everywhere we go, I keep her head right next to mine when we walk, so we can say her words back and forth to each other. Even with her there my mind will drift towards mundanities and then she will point to an Old Navy advertisement on top of a cab and she tells me about the dog in the ad, or we'll be walking down the milk aisle in Trader Joe's and she'll point to the cow in the elaborate paintings up by the ceiling that I have never noticed even though I've been there five dozen times. Moooo, she says. Up! Up! I admire her for the way she sees the world. She sees shapes and creatures and every idea she can cram into a word everywhere we go. It might be incredibly frustrating, to see so much but to be able to say so little. But I think it must also be beautiful, to be so overwhelmed by the world.

Yesterday, we were walking down Clement Street and from her perch in the crook of my arm she pointed towards the traffic and said, "Bus" clear as anything. I looked and sure enough a bus had stopped in front of Burma Superstar across the street. I couldn't contain myself, overwhelmed with so much love for her right then. I smiled and held her close in a hug and she squirmed and I kissed her head and said, "That's right Juney, it is a bus. You're right! I didn't even see it."

I have childless friends who ask me how things have changed since she was born. I tend to turn on the self-deprecation, talk about how I don't get to go out to bars anymore or how our lives are scheduled around her naps and bedtime. I tell them that because I know it's what they want to hear; many of them are still convinced, as Ken says on Freaks & Geeks, that, "everything fun in life happens in bars." I don't see any point to getting this precious or sentimental with them. They don't care that the biggest way my life has changed since Juniper was born is that I smile a lot more. That I laugh a lot more now. And it's not laughter at someone because they said or did something stupid and it's not ironic laughter at some shitty movie or television show or laughter at the expense of someone else because I think I'm better than them. I just find myself smiling and laughing because she has somehow fulfilled me in such an unexpected way. She makes me see the world as simple and pure, and it feels so good to have her sitting in the crook of my arm. She is teaching me to look up with her, and remember things I've never known