Friday, September 16, 2022

Gee, Yesterday Evening

I want to remember last night, a warm evening in September.

It's my day to pick up Gee from preschool. I notice that she has a bit of a cough and when we get home and I lift her out of her car seat, she says, “I want to hold you.” So I leave my bags in the car and I carry her to the bench on our porch and I sit with her there, on my lap facing me, leaning into my chest.. She is grubby from school, dirt around her ankles and her in elbow creases. Her face is sticky, and there is more dirt visible on her cheeks and around her mouth. Her hair smells like sweaty kid as she snuggles against me, turning her head to fit just right in the space between my neck and shoulder, where somehow my clavicle becomes a pillow and we are both comfortable. The air is getting cooler, the light has that golden hue of autumn, and the leaves are rustling but they are still green and the sun is still warm. Clementine is excited to see us and eagerly chewing a rawhide bone. David and the big girls aren’t home—he’s dropping them off at the gym—so Gee and I sit and snuggle and breathe together for a few moments. She feels so good, warm and heavy on my lap, caught in that moment between baby and big girl. After a bit, she sits up to face me and we talk about where her sisters are and how her eyes are blue and my eyes are blue. She tells me that her hair is “silvadon” and I ask if she means “golden” but she says no and then I say, “Blonde?” and she says “Yes!” and is elated that I found the right word. Then she asks for a popsicle and she pronounces it in this way that sounds like “possible” even though when I repeat, smiling, it she tries to correct me—she hears it’s wrong though she can’t quite say it right. We go inside with an orange popsicle that has melted and refrozen in a misshapen way in the garage freezer and I take her up to the bathroom to wash off the day. When she's the bath tub with an orange popsicle, I clean her face and her body with a wash cloth and wipe away the dirt and grime and the popsicle drip on her belly until she smells like the sweet lavender Honest Company baby shampoo that we’re still using. I take a video of the way she says “pocksible” and I just want to bottle her up and keep her age three, with scraped knees and a missing front tooth and tangly golden hair with short, blunt bangs and wide blue eyes and soft cheeks and orange popsicle breath and dimpled hands with dirt under the fingernails.

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