Moments with a Two-Year Old

‘More nana-bread!’
‘Okay, just one more small piece.’
I slice a sliver of banana bread,
delighted that she so enjoys something I made.
She takes it eagerly.
‘Mmmm,’ she says, as she munches.
How can I deny her?
 
I draw chalk hearts on the driveway.
Pink, blue, yellow, orange and green.
She runs, jumps on them.
‘Papa, go to a blue one!’
Gary leaps to it.
‘Nana, green!’
I jog over.
She has invented a sport,
she directs us with enthusiasm.
She trips on her sandal.
Skins her knee.
I scoop her up, carry her inside.
We clean the scrape, apply ointment and a colorful band-aid.
Back outside to our rainbow heart game.
 
Laughter turns to tears
And back again in minutes.
 
‘I love you, Papa!’
She says as we climb the stairs to bed.
He is on the phone with a patient.
‘I love you, Papa!’
He doesn’t hear.
‘Papa loves you sooo much,’ I assure her.
 
She is strapped into her car seat.
I blow kisses.
She smiles.
They drive away.
I wave, take a deep breath, exhale.
Relief and longing in unequal parts wash over me.
 
When will I get to hold that little bundle of life, love, demands and discovery again?
Standing on the blue heart, as directed!