In the morning we all bustle around the house, doing our own things, getting ready for the day.
Jack eats pancakes at the sticky dining room table.
Emily shuttles her baby doll back and forth across the living room floor.
My husband checks his email and shakes vitamins out of a plastic bottle for Jack.
I’m in the bathroom, lining my eyes with black and blowing out my frizzy, blonde hair with the dryer until it is straight and smoothe and shiny.
Somehow, on this one morning, we all found ourselves for a few moments gathered around the dining room table. I put on socks and shoes, and listened to Jack chat about what he would taste like if he were a food. “I would taste like tacos! I would taste like tacos!” he sang.
Emily toddled over and pointed to the sock puppet in the middle of the table. “Ockah. Ockah,” she chirped. I handed her the puppet. She put it on. Her chubby arm was engulfed in the grubby-looking, white athletic sock that my husband had transformed with button eyes and a pom-pom nose into the creature, “Sockthing,” when my son was younger.
When Jack was two or three, Sockthing could get him to do things that Mommy and Daddy could not. Things like taking a time out, eating one more bite of dinner, getting ready for bed, or putting on his shoes. Sockthing could sweet-talk Jack into just about anything.
Jack would hug my husband’s Sockthing-covered arm to his chest and bleat, “You’re my best friend, Sockthing!” (Of course it sounded more like, “best fwiend Sockfing.”)
Sometimes Sockthing would be the only person to whom Jack would talk about his four-year-old feelings, or five-year-old frustrations.
Even now at six, Jack still requests time with Sockthing at bedtime, or to play hide and seek with Sockthing. It was only recently he randomly announced to us, “Sockthing’s voice is really Daddy.”
On this particular morning, my husband appeared also, and suddenly there we were, all four of us, around the dining room table.
My husband put Sockthing on his hand and made him grab Emily’s pacifier. Emily squealed and grabbed her pacifier back by biting it directly out of Sockthing’s mouth. Then she gave it back to Sockthing, and he sat there sucking on Emily’s pacifier with a smug look on his face.
We all laughed, even Jack, who is almost never amused by his sister’s antics.
I hope if my life ever flashes before my eyes, moments like this one are what I see.