In the brilliant space of time where the roar of the workweek echoes into silence, I was in the kitchen. I cleared the counters of crusted dishes until they dripped and shone in the rack. The clothes dryer hummed. An occasional car engine whispered by. Earlier that morning, my pregnant wife assisted our three year old daughter in creating a forest of cardboard trees while I jumped in the car and gathered groceries for our weekend.
After lunch, I managed a miracle in getting my three year old down for a nap. Recently, Anna developed a resistance to the dreaded nap, often resulting in a grouchy evening and an early bedtime. Today, however, Dada won the contest of wills. By 1:30pm, Anna was in dreamland, swaddled in three blankets, two pillows, one dolly, and her latest stuffed animal given to her by Saint Nick—a dog she named “Goo.”
By 2:00pm, my wife was also in dreamland, snoozing in a recliner in our living room.
I sighed in the resplendent, rare silence and quietly sorted the groceries. I tabbed the CD player mounted beneath a kitchen cupboard and Sade’s album Lover’s Rock began to pour gently from the speakers. Sade’s ethereal voice wove through the sounds of our home. The furnace purred. The wood of the walls creaked with the cold and moaned against the wind. Our dog, asleep on the kitchen floor, began to dream. He half-barked, his yellow paws and legs quivering as he ran the dream fields in chase of imaginary tennis balls.
I drew a blade from a drawer and began carving and cleaving onions, tomatoes, garlic cloves. Marinara simmered. Oregano and basil fell from my fingertips as enormous, fluffy snowflakes laced the windowsill. Beef, freshly salted, braised in the slow cooker. Buttered bread bronzed in the oven. A week of lunches neared completion, shedding tongue-tingling fragrances.
As I stood at the window, counter cleared and cleaned, I sensed her. My attention shifted from the taste of Merlot and the mesmerizing snow fall to the angel on the staircase. My daughter, Anna, stood on the stairs, puffy faced and sleepy eyed. Her favorite brown, “cozy” blanket arched her shoulder and nestled against the skin of her neck. She cradled Goo, her stuffed dog, under her arm and rubbed her eyes with her other hand.
She was an ever unfolding miracle. She was the dawn of a hundred thousand smiles. Standing there on the stairs, I found myself surrounded by an echoing memory. Stirred from the warm cocoon of my bed by a kitchen simmering with scents, the singing of an elegant voice on a low volume radio beckoning from somewhere down the hall, the froth of sleep skimmed gradually from my mind as I wandered into the arms of a parent. This was a sacred space. It was a hallowed moment of the best of things.
Submitted by Anonymous