I look long at his finger, so small as it glides beneath the sentence, pausing at each word. His voice is small, too, I notice. And the way he pronounces “l” like “w” every now and then. There’s still a hint of baby in Rowan – in the crease of bent elbow, in doughy upper thigh, the spot so ticklish.
He labors, sounding out each syllable, finger pointing word by word by word. I am folded next to him on the bed, Go, Dog, Go propped between us. I watch the small finger.
I’m afraid I’ve let most slip like silk ribbon through fingertips. Ubiquitous and relentless as a mid-August sun, most of these moments have flashed unnoticed. I’ve stopped infrequently. I’ve watched little. I’ve listened not nearly enough. I assume that because there seems to be so many now, they might always be, this everyday, these moments. The sacred mundane.
* * *
It is his voice that stops me short as I pluck dirty socks and stray sneakers and Magic Treehouse paperbacks from the living room floor.
I sit on the edge of the couch, crumpled socks balled in hand, sneakers tucked under arm, and stare at the television. Brad and the boys are watching an old home video. A toddler lurches past infant balanced in the bouncy chair. It’s Noah's cherubic voice I hear as he waddles on screen, Noah at three years old. It’s been six years since I’ve heard that voice.
I don’t think I ever really heard it until now.
“I can’t believe his voice sounded like that,” I say, eyes still on the television. “How could I never have noticed that voice?”
I turn to Brad. “How could I never have heard that sweet voice?” I ask. “Listen to it. Have you ever heard anything so sweet as that?”
* * *
Rowan slumps deeper into the pillows, props the book on pajama pants, turns the page, positions an index finger under the first word. He begins again, sounding out. I close my eyes and listen.
How do you tune into the sacred in the mundane?