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It is the silly putty we’re seeing. He and I. The stuff that’s gone through the wash clinging to his clothes. The stuff we’re both picking at with fingernails on the shoulder of his long-sleeve. Like crusted gum. Only I’m sure it is gum–washed and dried and caramelized to the threads, until his sheepish grin confesses,”Oh that? That’s my silly putty.” And whether it is his tiny teeth all on display or his eyes half-winking or the way he says ‘silly putty’ so matter-of-factly, I am undone. Undone with love for my boy.

It is the sticker on the living room wall. Two weeks old at least. The foil-like one I can see from the couch. The one that glints in the sunlight and is forgotten when it rains. The one that will stick like art to the wall until the child who put it there asks profoundly, “why is there a sticker on the wall?” or  “Did dad put this here?”

It is the pinata we made together. The thing that took us two tries and all of Nannie’s newspaper. And most of two days to dry. And just those two days to prove with certainty that our pinata skills are not pinata skills. Which didn’t stop us from coating it in blue paint. Or from a friend asking at the Y if I knew I had blue paint down my neck. And it didn’t stop us from stuffing it with food no one has eaten from the pantry. Or duck taping the bottom. And finally hanging it on the playset with yellow yarn for his sister to beat once with a plastic bat. Until it proved better that he toss it like a beach ball and she swat it like a gnat. Until it cracked. And both of them burst with joy.

It is the sixty-three-degree high in the backyard. The temperature that has us daring–at first– to eat our sandwiches outside. Then to remove a sweatshirt. And ten minutes later, a long-sleeve. Until at 2:00 p.m. we’re blinded more by our colorless limbs than we are the sun.

It is her wardrobe change for our ten minute bike ride at ten to seven. Where she appears at the garage door dressed, as it were, for church in her fluorescent birthday jeans and scorching pink sweater she’s had no occasion to wear anywhere else. Jeans we can see glowing like a campfire two blocks away, see-sawing as she pedals. Birthday-bike-riding jeans.

It is his bedtime prayer where instead of beginning, “Dear Jesus,” and praying the usual, he says, “Father…thank you for this house you gave us, and thank you for the people in it that make it our home.” And Husband and I who have had our eyes open cannot stifle our grins. It is too much.

 

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