Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tears and Pie

Tears well up in Zack's light green eyes this morning.

He isn't himself; he isn't laughing or dancing or building intricately  balanced bridges blocking access to the toilet and all exits.

I'm halfway through my first cup of coffee and now ready to be kind, so I ask my freckled first grader what's up.

He exhales and looks up, a heaviness falling on him.

"I had a nightmare...."

"Oh?" I notice a clump of Key Lime Pie in his newly shorn hair, behind his ear, and want to shout at his sister immediately (or at least send her a well-deserved stern look) but I hold my urge and sink back into his tearful green eyes.

"I dreamed....that....(he looked down, looked at the wall, then looked back at me) Daddy ordered Ranch dressing on my Subway sandwich...."

Zack took a step closer to me, vulnerable from his confession.

I don't laugh; I make a compassionate sad face, and he blinks back tears from his already wet eyelashes.

Instinctively I held my arms out and he climbed up cuddled on my lap, his skinny newly long legs and arms folding like the tines of an umbrella.

"What an awful nightmare, good thing it was only a dream!" I say, rocking him in my lap and kissing his head, pretending to stroke his hair but really plucking pieces of pie out of his hair.