“How are the kids?” he asked during a routine work conversation.
I try to keep it short and sweet. “Good,” I say. “Toots turned 6 last month and Booger will be 4 next week.”
I could add more, so much more, but don’t want to bore him.
Turns out I can’t help myself and go on a bit longer, ever mindful of the time. There’s not enough words to say what I want to anyway…
…That Toots is a goof, but so emotional I wonder at the ferocity of her feelings. Last week she wrote, “I no I have a gaet life but it dusit seym rit” and tears sprung to my eyes. Such words for a little girl. When I asked her about it she laughed and said she just felt like writing it down. It didn’t seem as if she took it — or me — seriously and thank God for that, I think. With Toots, the wave of emotion goes up, the wave of emotion goes down. Most of the time, I try to meet her at the tide’s peak, but I worry. Then, I catch a glimpse of her playing outside, helmet askew, gliding on her scooter or hamming it up with a neighbor and I can’t take my eyes of her. My little goobie. I love how she collects flowers and “decorates the neighborhood,” strewing petals on thresholds and front stoops. How she reads everything, toothpaste tubes included. How she rubs her feet together and flashes her dimples. How she wants to be an illustrator and makes storybooks and has dreams and asks to plant a “popcorn tree.”
Those things aren’t captured in simple answers to polite questions.
And Booger. My sweet sweet baby girl with her painted toes and flower fingers. Her dresses of gauze and gloves of lace and the ponytail she keeps checking to see if it’s there. She’s grown into her face now and the baby is leaving. I still sneak into her room to watch her sleeping because that’s when she looks most like the little girl who used to sleep on my chest at one month old. Sometimes I kiss her too hard and she wakes up, shooing me away. She laughs in her sleep and it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. People tell her she’s gorgeous and I’m sure it’s going to her head, but there’s a light within her and it’s not hiding in a bushel.
Light. Both of them light.
That answer should suffice.