Sunday morning, I was engrossed in my newest book (more to come on that later). The kids tromped in from a early morning snow romp. Snow pants, hats, gloves and mismatched boots covered the mud room floor. Right as I read a part that forced tears to well in my eyes, I finally acknowledged the small voice that repeated, at least four times,
"Can someone pwease help me with my tennis shoes?"
Henry. Henry, who used to despise his tennis shoes, now won't go a second without them. And, because he's three, and from a generation of faithful Croc wearers, he has no idea how to get the tennies on, never mind tie them.
So I joined him and sat on the last stair, in my flannel PJs and sweatshirt. My crazy, curly, morning hair hung in my eyes. Henry sat on the floor, in his Woody PJs (These are his Toy Story PJs. He frequently tells me he has Woody pants. I know this juicy tidbit will come in handy someday...mean mommy). His own blond, crazy mop gave mine a run for its money. I loosened the laces, pulled out the tongue and said,
"This is the tongue. You have to pull it out to make room for your foot."
"Oh", he whispered, "the tongue." He smiled at me like I'm the smartest woman in the world. I didn't correct him.
His still-chubby cheeks radiated the early morning light which crept in through the blinds.
I got the laces ready, then Henry's agile, soft hands heartily tightened the laces with a confident zip. Simultaneously, he pulled on the strings of my heart, soul, lungs and probably my liver. It was one of those moments. The quiet, the calm, the love and joy all palpable. I wanted yell, "Freeze!" and stop the passing seconds on the clock.
Henry stood up. He smiled with dimpled cheeks and said, "Danks, Momma."
We hugged. He dashed off wearing his super-fast exercise shoes. Gone. I was tongue-tied. These small, seemingly mundane moments--the ones I didn't expect or know to expect--stop me in my whirling dash. They reach out, grab my heart, and squeeze. Hard.