Monday, December 5, 2011

Stay This Way

Kinu turns four this week, tonight she is laughing and trying to blow up this balloon as it spits all over her face.
Rebekah is sprawled out on the floor, she had an asthma attack today at school and I rushed her over to the little medical clinic where she sat beside me sucking in a nebulizer as the nurse in pink uniform giggled at us from the desk and waved.
Xian is getting too old for her own good. She readily admits that all the boys in her class like her and has full on conversations with adults in the post office and supermarket, stopping only to look at me and nod, "It's okay, Dad. They're friends."
I finish the dishes and take out the trash, come back and make centipedes out of play-doh on the floor. Rebekah comes and lays on my back and Kinu lays across my legs. Xian brings a stack of books from the shelf and reads.
We like that show "Fairly Odd Parents" and "Kim Possible." Sometimes I pop some popcorn or make hot cocoa and we curl up under afghans and watch TV next to the space heater, but the girls are convinced it's bad for them because the doctor at the clinic told them not to eat chocolate.
At the market, we found a yellow t-shirt that reads, "Save the Elephants," and the girls pass them back and forth, along with a blue Oregon State Fair tee with a yellow beaver on the front... when my sweatshirt comes out of the dryer, I wrap the girls up on the floor like tacos and the coo ridiculously.
Some of the best conversations I get into are every morning walking with Xian to school, we stop in the park and point at the exercisers or pause on the bridge to watch the cars pass. We talk about science and language origins and cultural manners... at night it's all about reading to Bidan and Kinu, their little hands turning pages.
When I put the tree up this year, I hung stockings on little hooks and the girls raced around in my slippers, sliding on the floor and building forts out of blankets. Leaving puzzle pieces and tinker toys on the floor and me carrying them to bed when they have fallen asleep on the big chair.
The night of Kinu's big Saturday birthday, I laid a bunch of soft blankets and sleeping bags on the floor beside her bed and she slid down and laid next to me and wrapped her little arms around my neck and told me all her secrets. She said that watermelons are scary and that papaya are friendly and that toast must always be buttered on one side. Her little face glowing in the city light coming in through the window, Rebekah already asleep in the bed next to us and Xian down the hall and as Kinu drifted off to sleep, full of whispers and soft hugs, I just kept thinking, can't it always, just always, stay this way.

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