We clean my bedroom together, Landon and I. I lift a towel from the pile on the bed; he plants himself under its floating body; squeals as he's hidden beneath its tent. And repeat. Once the towels are in a stack, I move onto daddy's tshirts, and the game doesn't skip a beat. Landon could be hidden and found from here to eternity, never losing his smile.
When the piles are deconstructed, Landon wanders across the carpet in pursuit of his next diversion. His legs aren't steady in the least; his steps look altogether unlikely. Balance is precarious and fickle; a shadow threatens his gait.
He stops at the edge of a trapezoid of sunshine stabbing in from the window, and studies the light. It is warm and sharp and not unwelcome, but unexpected. The room is usually all pillows and cuddles and softness. He puts a toe into the heat, and stops, throwing his arms up for compensation. The light has compromised his balance. All at once, his bottom lands on the carpet, arms still overhead. His crash has awoken a colony of particles and they fly in swirls and motes in the shaft of sunlight before him. He is enchanted. Or mesmerized. Or maybe disgusted (let's not dwell on the myriad inhabitants of my carpet fibers...). His arms slowly paddle through the air, disturbing the twinkling bits. He stills, and points one finger into the melee. A needle piercing the stardust.
Then, while I melt in the proximity of his innocence, he squeals and flaps his arms and stands back up again. Chasing the next bits of wonder and light.
I didn't dare remove Landon from the shopping cart before getting all of the groceries loaded into the car. He would have been the most inexpressibly unhappy baby since the last time I made him inexpressibly unhappy. Like earlier in the day when I tried to wipe his face? It's all better forgotten now, but just know that he threatened to never lay his head on my shoulder ever again, and I counter-bribed with the promise of an extra midnight snuggle. An uneasy truce ensued. I wasn't about to break it with a carseat infraction.
He watches my every move, as usual. He can be glued on my hip for the duration of dinner prep, and not utter a syllable of impatience. Not shift for a millimeter of boredom. When mama is working, Landon is watching. When mama is standing still, though, Landon is squirming. It holds true for most things, and the grocery-loading process -- riveting -- is no exception.
In go the apples. In go the cheeses. In go the donuts (because, I mean...right?).
A long, narrow shadow pokes its head into our space on the sunlit parking lot. I follow it to its zenith. It is a fellow shopper, angling her way toward us with an apparent mission in mind. Is she going to spout advice about keeping the baby in the cold? Might she point out something I've dropped? I narrow my eyes and steel my spine for spontaneous interaction: the most terrifying sort.
She smiles. Her skin is leather and mocha, warm and rich. Her shadow covers us from the sun, and we are in a stripe of intimacy. She reaches one hand toward my son, and when she gets close enough for me to notice that her eyes are an arresting, glittering black, she speaks.
"May I touch your baby?"
It's a beseech, not an ask. A bless, not an impose.
"Absolutely!" I say, off-guard. I put my hand on Landon's leg as she puts her own across the crown of his head. Just where his baby hair is starting to whorl and sway. I know exactly what she must be feeling: silk and warmth and the beginning of a whole, entire life, right under her bent and knobbed palm.
Then she steps back, her smile still perfectly unmoved. "Thank you. Babies have a way of making everything right again, don't they?"
I stare after her as she walks away, her shadow glancing off cars and shoppers and carts. I must be a statue. Because Landon strains and grunts and reaches for me, unwilling to let the moment linger, anxious to be moving again, or at least watch me get moving again.
And I think my days must be one run-on sentence of rightness, if the shadowy stranger is correct. So I load my things and kiss my baby and hum a little song that has come into my mind from nowhere. Landon hums too. A shadow of sound.
I am thankful for my baby boy. Every second of every day.