His fingers move fast.
They pull pieces apart and together in ways that make perfect sense, but only to one of us.
We sit on the floor facing each other.
Knee to knee, almost eye to eye, the way that a lifetime ago I had my students sit, carving out a small space in a big classroom beneath fluorescent lights that could only be described as School.
In this small space the beige carpet is rough between us, “Daddy’s Jazz” is smooth around us.
Bright sunlight, winter’s gift to Minnesotans, shines against new snow, slants through tightly closed windows.
My transplanted from California skin is thin and (sometimes) whiny, so as the calendar turns and the temperature lowers, we spend more time indoors.
We’ve spent our morning right here.
Earlier, we buttoned up December’s relics – glittery and shiny and so very well loved – each one carefully boxed and put away for another year.
He wanted to figure them out, see how they work, how they fit.
But I hurried us through, nudging and reminding and Be careful-ing him until finally we were done and the room felt bare once again.
While I love all that glitters and fills, I like this way, too. I can breathe in here.
And right now I do,.
I breathe and he sits on his knees, in the way that children do with ease, as he makes sense of his toy.
Unlike this morning, I let him be.
We sit close. I face him, noting his tiny fingers holding equally tiny pieces in shades of childhood – the brightest of blues and reds and yellows.
He looks up through hazel eyes and long lashes and bed hair that refuses to be tamed.
“I’m all done now,” he says, each of his hands tightly wrapped around pieces still taken apart. He gets how they work; their job is done.
He slides into my lap and leans back, I fit my arms around his small frame, lace my fingers at his delicious tummy.
And while my job here isn’t done, like Brody, I get how something here works.
It’s this place between us, sans glitter and bare in the good way, and I too am keeping my fingers tightly wrapped around my pieces.