Miles and Miles

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 Slam. It’s always the door I hear first. From the far end of the house. I don’t hear feet, no voice, no anything. Other than the door. Slam. He always slams the door. Then I hear his feet. Patter. Patter. Patter. Like a chicken across a bowling alley.

“Hi. Datt.”

Miles is awake. Early Saturday morning. Unlike him. But no getting around it now. He’s awake. There is life.

“What do you want to do Miles? You have three choices. Get in bed with Momma. Get back in your bed. Or come downstairs with me.”

“Downstairs with you.”

“OK. You need socks.”


“Yes, socks.”

“My feet aren’t cold.”

“You need socks.”

“OK, Datt.”

I put his socks on.

They’re on the floor before I sit down.

They stay on the floor.

I open my laptop from one end of the couch. Miles opens Walt Disney’s Mother Goose from the other side. The book is a foot tall, taped together, published in 1970. This is what we do most mornings.

“I’ll work on this book.”

Then he narrates the book with the enthusiasm of a . . . child. Funny how they come up with these clichés.

“There’s Donald Duck, the mountain climber. Look at that spider. He’s stuck in a net. There’s Goofy.”

“I’m hungry. Datt.”

“What would you like to eat? I can cook oatmeal, we have grapes, toast?”

Miles opens the fridge. Peers inside. Pokes at a gallon of milk. Opens a drawer. Then walks away.

“I’ll wait.”

Then he skips back to the family room. It’s the freedom from observation which I love about children. Like no one is looking. Gleeful abandon. Miles picks up his medical kit and opens it across the table. That’s why I have a plastic stethoscope around my neck.

He’s off in a flash. Again.

“Do you like my hat?”

My favorite light blue Embrace the Race hat rests on his head. He smiles from underneath the brim, knowing it’s somehow funny, the big hat shadowing his eyes. He picks his head up, enough to see my laughter. He laughs from the ground up. Shrieks. Flits in a circle.

“I want to watch Winnie the Pooh.”

I turn on the dvd player and Peter the Rabbit pops on the screen.

“That’s not Winning the Pooh.”

I find the right movie and put it on.

“That’s a bear. His name is Winnie the Pooh. He’s a good guy. A very good guy. He’s not a monkey.”

Miles lies on the floor, feet (not socks) propped up on the leg of the table. Fire-engine pajamas. Curly hair, mopped in a ball, spread across the carpet. The happiest kid in the world.

We’ll play in the snow later.