“Bubl sa. Bubl sa.”
“SAWYER WANTS A BUBBLE SAW.”
“What’s he saying Jess? No, sit down and eat, I can get it… what’s bubl sa?”
I am on my feet, tapping the remnants of applesauce off my spoon into a tiny plastic dish, orange, of course, blue would be Parker’s, pink, McKenna’s, before I can translate. My behind has barely skimmed the chair anyway, having just recoiled from my dive for a rogue spoon torpedoing to the floor, potatoes spraying the delighted audience.
“Bubl saaa,” deep saucers of blue look up at me as I place the mashed concoction my youngest was pining for in front of his fat-padded fingers, sweet lips smiling, opening to reveal every tooth that had struggled to interrupt that gummy smile. I deftly secure his bib, fingers grazing where baby curls give way to the first pebbles of his delicate little spine, it had once curled against my chest for hours on end.
“… and if I’m not waiting out there right at 6:37 she is not going to wait Mom, she’s not.”
My mind centers back to the buzzing table at my waist, the current topic of teenage choice, a familiar one. My oldest shoves rose glasses up that straight nose we both wear, hair, enough for three heads, springing loose under the confines of a weighted ponytail I craft expertly each morning. Wide, grown fingers curl her fork as she chews.
“Moooom,” she yells, rushing to shield her eyes with a thin line of silverware, a look of disgust crawling up her round, still baby, face, “where’s his PANTS?”
Oh, my son, in partial glory, giving away his lack of dinner attire as he rises, revealing what should be hidden under the table. The bony figure buzzing sheer energy off his seat, his moments of sitting still long since over, tapping skinny toes, miniatures of his father’s, atop his heaping plate, making it bounce with each beat of his foot.
“Weeeeee,” he delights, blonde hair settling back just as it does when my fingers trace it, giving way to a chiseled little boy face, this face his dad’s too, in its entirety. He watches morsels of his meal, finely chopped for still-learning mouths, take flight through dinner table air.
“Pawkawr!” his sister chides, in that I love you, you silly boy tone no one can replicate.
Golden locks skim her plate, her elegant fingers argue with a “big girl” spoon, pleading to ignore the awkwardness of being three, she concentrates on the eating at hand and soaks in her brother’s joy all at once. Her lips purse to a heart, the dimples I love to kiss press deep, eyes smiling in satisfaction at her happy little life as she resists her penchant for sophistication and sets forth meticulously covering her delicate hand in gravy, waiting for her brother to catch wind of her antics.
For a semi-uneventful second, my eyes find my husband, “So what did you want to do abou..”
“Parker! Put that down, alright buddy, off the table, let’s go.”
“Listen to Daddy, Parker, off the table, come on, we’re all eating together, isn’t this nice?”
My husband’s long, caring arm stretches for my son, righting him back to his place. He leans in, kissing his son on the cheek, whispering love calmly into his red ear.
My eyes swallow the meal whole, the leaf in the table, we need it now, the cast of characters defying, entertaining, chattering, munching. All mine.
My focus travels to the empty seat, it’s starkness, threatening to pull me in, tugs at my side instead, challenging me to open my eyes wider, to bask and enjoy.
My table, my heart, full.
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