We bundle up in our red jackets, and put Bean in the running stroller which is wind proof and warm, and walk two miles to a gormet market, stopping to get hot chocolate along the way. Inside it has the most wonderful little cafÃ©, tucked in among isles stocked with wine and marzipan, biscotti, and maple butter. The walk made us hungry, and we order big fluffy slices of cinnamon raisin French toast, omelets, and fruit. The girl who waits on us has a lip ring and a punk hairdo and a beaming sunny smile. She tells, "careful, the maple syrup is really full.â€™"
I watch Bean sitting in his highchair, picking up slices of fresh strawberries and eating them as though he has always done this. His little thumb and forefinger working together perfectly to grasp each piece and bring it to his mouth. It takes my breath away to watch him and I feel tears smarting up in the corners of my eyes. He catches me looking at him and bursts into a huge grin, his two brand new teeth poking up from his bottom gum. Then he reaches out his hand and offers me his gnawed on strawberry half.
Walking back we peer in the windows at the architectural salvage warehouse, at claw foot bathtubs and old doors we imagine maybe using during renovation. When we open the door at home the smell of the garlands we hung yesterday hits us: piney and warm. We nap, three to a bed, and as my two guys sleep I canâ€™t help lying awake staring in wonderment at their faces.
When I wake up it is already 3pm and the afternoon light is pale and weak out the window. I dress for a runâ€”the first in two weeks since I injured my knee. It's my first run since itâ€™s been snowy, and I thrill to feel my body fall back naturally into the rhythm of it. I run a new route, on sidewalks through the hill section of town and then up past the University where the gibbous moon hangs fat and solemn in the blue sky above the red brick buildings. I can see all the way to the lake, a thin blue ribbon at the feet of the mountains. Ice has formed where the air and water kiss the rocks and sticks along the shore.
We eat dinner with friends in a small Italian restaurant, where we watch a family celebrate their grandmotherâ€™s birthday. She coos at her granddaughter saying too loudly, â€œIsabella say cheese,â€ and they all say, â€œdonâ€™t talk so loudly.â€ I canâ€™t help smiling. Later I talk to my mother on the phone as I finish making linzer cookies. We are trying to learn how to reword our communication so that itâ€™s clear and present, not painted with the lacquer of childhood miscommunications, and our conversation is full of love.