Spinning child

June 18, 2007 12:26 PM

My daughter is four-and-a-half.

This morning, she was in the kitchen, spinning in circles, with her arms straight out at her sides.

She spun and her hair, which is getting long, spun with her. It resembled brown gold. She looked up at the ceiling and kept on spinning.

She was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

She didn’t notice me right away. Still in her own world, she stopped spinning, took a few steps sideways, and began spinning again in a different spot.

I had been standing out in the open where she could have easily seen me. But she didn’t. So I stepped back, behind the wall and peered over at her, now invisible to her eyes.

She spun slowly, closing her eyes and then opening them again. She still didn’t see me. She didn’t even look for me.

I had a country station on the radio and music filled the room. She stopped spinning after a few minutes and began looking around the room to find some object I had not yet identified.

She bent down to look under the kitchen table and then went around the table to get her box. Yes, she has a box. It is a long, skinny box, just a bit longer than her, just a bit wider. She put it flat on the floor then climbed inside feet first.

Her head disappeared inside the shadows of the box. The country music continued to play. She began to sing. She didn’t sing with the song on the radio. She sang her version of “You are my Shunshine.”

I snuck over to turn the radio down so I could hear her more clearly. When she heard the radio turn down, her song stopped and she peaked out of her box.

I smiled at her. She smiled at me. And closed the flaps on the box.

I turned the radio back up and went into the other room.

After a minute or two, I stepped from my room and looked down the hall toward the kitchen. She was spinning again, arms out, hair flowing.

I smiled and thought to myself how much I wanted to be in that world again. I remember my own boxes and my own spinning, when I was oblivious to bills, and sickness, to wars in Iraq, to global warming, and shootings in Virginia.

I remember when spinning to music didn’t make me dizzy. I remember when my brain and my memory weren’t quite as full as they are now, when my heart was much more innocent, and when my box was my world.

She saw me watching her and she stopped spinning for about 10 seconds. She kept her arms straight out. She stared at me and didn’t say a word. I didn’t say a word right back at her.

She smiled and I smiled.

She tipped her head back and began spinning.

Rascal Flatts sang about something or another.

And I went back in my room.

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