They circle each other among the ribbons. Shades of blue and silver light their path.
“He’s here!” They yell, hearing the familiar sounds of our puzzle completing.
Garage door opening, door slamming, slick toed footsteps clicking behind just one more door.
They still shoulder to shoulder. Rosy chins tilt up, damp hair grazes shoulders, fingers edge fuzzy pajamas.
Eight years into mothering, and there’s still nothing quite like this just-out-of-the bath-ness.
“Happy birthday!” The girls harmonize.
Their tiny fingers count to three before this well practiced love escapes their lips.
“We got balloons for you!” Brody yells, unable to contain his three-year-old version of the same. “Thirty three of them!” He adds. “And that’s a lot.”
“But not as many as Mommy!” Jason quips. Our eyes meet. A dozen years of this joke told, and it’s not old yet. (for one of us)
We hold this gaze, this smile, this moment. “Thank you,” He mouths, before they pull him back.
He sheds his suit and his slick and, just for this moment, his tired, and settles beside them.
“We wrote our memories.” Brody explains.
Jason raises his cheeks, crinkles his eyes, furrows his brow. “You did what?” He asks.
They puzzle piece around him, splay their hearts.
“This one’s my favorite,” Kayli shows. I loved when you coached my soccer and softball teams.
“And this one’s mine.” Chloe steps in, lacing her arms around him. Remember when you taught me how to play “Hot Dog Cross Buns?”
Brody side-steps them both, plants himself in Jason’s lap, the center once again. The right of the littlest. I like going to Chili’s with just you.
One by one he reads each of their heartstrings out loud. We breathe in each of these memories, and create this one.
“Best. Birthday. Ever.” Jason announces. They overflow with giggles, I overflow, too.