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Sunday night. McKinley lays next to me. Since Andrew is gone Renee and McKinley have been taking turns in my bed. Usually I enjoy having the bed all to myself, but of course when it’s the only option–husband gone for three more nights–then it’s lonely and sad. So here, next to me, a little snuggler, whose feet move back and forth, gently, and whose mind turns over ideas and questions–he whispers a bit, some reminder to himself? I can’t tell. And now, his breathing lulls, his feet are still, and he sleeps easy and full.

Earlier today Renee and McKinley decided to tenderly shove earrings in my ears. “Don’t hurt her!” McKinley demands while Renee soothes me with, “It’s OK, it’s OK, it doesn’t hurt.” McKinley grows impatient. “Let me try!” He demands. “Mom, be still. Be still.” I pretend to be absorbed in the computer, but I am lapping up this unusual demonstration of affection like a cat in the lap of a child newly absorbed in the silk of her fur. Occassionally their fingers fumble and my ears are pinched, but why show my claws? This they might never do again.

Renee gets the brush. She begins to brush my hair. “I’m smoothing it out,” she lulls to me, “and you’ll be So BeaUtiful! Everyone will say ‘Oh how beautiful!’ when they see you, Mom. So I’ll just smooth out your hair like this.” (yank, yank). Is this some sweet revenge for early morning attempts to desnaggle her hair? I lay still and feel the small press and pet of her hands on my head. My hair is brushed smooth and straight, which is not it’s usual state. I am then adorned with necklaces–yes, she raided my jewelry box again–and then McKinley proceeds to remove my reliable scuffed boots, in exchange for the less comfortable black dress shoes. (My one pair of dress shoes, I might add, as I live a rural life, where dressing up is always optional).

When Renee suggests that I wear a dress, because I would be “So PRETTY,” I stumble to my feet, and decline with laughter. But this I hold in my heart: their eyes, peering at me with a discerning glance, their hands gentle and fumbling all at once, their satisfaction at having made me more beautiful–which they have, they have, they have.


Comments

beauty parlor — 4 Comments

  1. What a lovely picture you’ve painted with your words. Such tenderness, such love.

    Sometimes, when Evan calls me on the phone, he calls me “mama.” There’s a sweetness to his voice that breaks my heart. With all the shortcomings in my life, I cling to that love like an autumnal leaf clings to the tree. I know that, in time, the distance between us will widen to a gulf and the hugs and phone calls will become rare things indeed.

  2. sounds like a great way to spend an evening…
    glad to hear your sanctuary isn’t such a stronghold.
    btw, that sanctuary sounds delightful!
    we’re *still* in the midst of debris, et al.

    you are SO PRETTY!
    xx

  3. Yes. They become adults, don’t they? It’s why they are welcome to snuggle in my bed–not every night, but some nights, and certainly every morning–and it’s why I kiss them and run my fingers over their heads and all of that. Because this season will pass, as it should, I suppose, dammit, but I’ll have lived it well!

  4. Oh, we are getting so close to the end! I started painting a downstairs bedroom today, and the guys were putting in my skylight in my bedroom today, only Lowe’s sent us the wrong flashing kit—it’s two inches to wide. Seems like every building supply warehouse we use, whether the local Summit Lumber or Lowes, can manage to screw up an order good. That’s fine, though, because me and Smokey Joe (our wonderful builder) and his helper (who just happens to be my baby brother Sean) all sat outside at the end of the day drinking our daily homebrew to mark the end of the day, and we raised our bottles to Lowe’s screw up, not because it helped or anything, but just because–well–just because that’s what you do when you drink beer at the end of the day. You toast the day. So. Cheers, friend, and bottoms up!

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