the family

There is this Ikea end table that we bought mostly because it was cheap and we thought we needed one. It was never meant to be in the living room, but I put it there one afternoon so that Alice could play with clay while I worked at the computer.

I would move it out again. It is in the way and, let’s face it, unattractive. But she has made it a hub in the lives of her stuffed animals. And so I just can’t.

There are more creatures than chairs, and rather than share seats, they take turns.

Until, eventually, she pulls around more chairs.

She offers them water and Crayolas. She cradles and shushes them. It is a new kind of make believe for her to be the caretaker and comforter.

How terribly sweet. Yes, that’s what gentle means. That is how you love.

There is this old, round tea table of mine back home in the attic or in the garage. I didn’t really want it back. More stuff. But now I maybe want it.

When Alice is close to sleeping, she starts chanting nonsensical strings of words to keep herself awake. But tonight, what she said was, “Mama, Dada, Alice.” Over and over. Of all people, we’re hers.


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