Her voice rises tiny from behind the Rodgers and Hammerstein. Her tone is imperious:
That exclamation is summons. I kneel on the floor beside her bed. She is two; the bed is only a month old. Her old crib was about to fall to pieces from all the meaty-thighed jumping that took place in it.
She is in the new, improved, big-kid bed now, I am kneeling beside her.
What is it, Chuk-muk?
A glimmer of eyes in the growing dusk. The shine of her teeth,
Did you want mama to bring you another hug? Another kiss?
My arms and mouth demonstrate the words. My heart fills with happiness, and chokes my throat. Another stroke of her hair, a kiss planted directly into her palm. She holds it, falls asleep.
This child now--at this time in my life, has ways of making feel grown up, parent, knowing… in ways the first child, my companion, the brother I’d never had before, could not.