The burrs on June’s tights remind me of the ones that used to stick to my shirt on my elementary school playground. Little and hard, like tiny battleships commandeering a port. I pick them from her as she squirms on my lap, annoyed by my constraint. We spent the morning playing baby doll, wrapping up dolls and pressing them against our chest, rocking them, kissing them, passing them back and forth between us. The game went on and on until at last the sun came out and we were able to escape outdoors. It has been days on top of days of rain here. Any hint of sunlight finds Sean and I rushing outdoors like worshippers to the pulpit. We are steadfast and loyal to its precense.
The trees that line our block are beginning to turn crispy and brown. Like the edges of a pie, the outer leaves transition with the season before the others. They scatter across our yard haphazardly until Sean blows them into the street for the city caretakers to carry away. Living in the city has its benefits, I suppose.
With the heat of the summer behind us, June sits in her sandbox for as long as she wishes. The afternoon sun does not exhaust her like it did just weeks ago. And so, I sit beside her, reading a novel while she digs. In the confines of the sandbox she plays independently and for this I am grateful. Even moms need a break sometimes. I glance up to see her excavating the sand from one side of the box to the next, the sand seeping away from her fingertips like an hour glass. I turn to the next chapter, looking down at the type on the page.
I appreciate the slow motion of our days together. The way the sun takes longer to rise than it used to in the morning, the way I must add ten minutes onto any trip so that June Bea can walk herself to the van, the way dinner tastes better when it sits stewing on the stove all afternoon. There is no need to rush these moments. As a child, I remember the fun moments passing too quickly. Twenty minutes of recess always seemed far quicker than twenty minutes of math. I remember the abruptness of the teacher’s whistle, how I was left walking the halls back to my classroom wishing I had more time to play. So now, as an adult, I am careful to work hard at finding more moments of play, letting no one set a time clock for my days. Thankfully, it is the golden sun that reigns over us here on our corner of the city block.