moments without a camera

The giggles intertwined with the hot, moist “under the blankets” air and danced around me. Like fairies covered in pixie dust, they flittered through the air, which grew denser with happiness, and tickled my face at the corners of my mouth where the smile lines are. I felt them reach down and tickle my heart too, as this girl and her squinty-eyed, scrunched-face giggles have many times before. Her scraggly hair covered one eye. Her chubby hand clumsily swatted it back. Then suddenly she gasped and turned her ear toward the door. “Ah, what dat? You hide wid me, Mommy?!” She dove into me and burrowed herself into me. “Ssssss, Mommy. Dey comin!” One hand stroked her disheveled scraggles- just twisting and bouncing into curls at the nape of her neck. The other hand gave her naked thigh a squeeze or two, just enough to make her pop up, her head raising the ceiling of our fort, and giggle some more. It’s like a drug to me-those giggles. She whipped the blankets off of us to inspect. The late afternoon light shines in golden though the windows of our bedroom. As it glowed behind her her wisps of hair made a halo. I was so glad she didn’t cooperate when I wanted to brush it back this morning. Then under the blankets we dove again. More giggles. More squinty, winky smiles, which pudge her cheeks out as if they are literally, audibly calling for a kiss. Her bee-bo peeks out of her shirt, the one her big sissy wore for Christmas when she was a full year younger, the one this girl has insisted on wearing even though it barely covered her round little belly bulge, the one with Snoopy on it- holding mistletoe.  She throws herself into me again. “I yah you, Mommy”. I echo her. Then she responds “I yah you. I too, Mommy. I too.” I smell the cinnamon oatmeal from breakfast in her hair, and the air has a lingering smell of macaroni.   Our comforter casts a grey hue on us. It is as if I am watching this whole scene unfold in black and white. I close my eyes, hoping a slow shutter will capture this moment and file it away. I feel her excited breath on my face, she squirms up, scrunches her face up and back,-cheesing for my “camera”. Then collapses in giggles. And we lay there together, under the comforter, in the grey-golden light, completely lost in this moment. Completely found.

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