One day last week I was puttering in the kitchen and it occurred to me I hadn’t seen Whit in a while. “Whit?” I hollered up the staircase. Our house is very up-and-down and we have a terrible habit, all of us, of shouting up and down the stairs.
“Yes?” I heard him answer from upstairs.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m just looking out the window.”
Oh. I stood in the kitchen, a potholder in my hand, stunned, still, thinking about that.
Later that afternoon I was folding laundry on our bed while Whit sat in the upholstered chair in our bay window talking to me. The late-afternoon sun streamed in, viscous, gold, like maple syrup. I shook out pajama bottoms and folded them, smoothed little boy underpants printed with robots and sailboats with my hand, piling them neatly.
“Mummy?” Whit said from his perch, and I turned to see that he was gazing out the window.
“Admire the light of this hour.”
I gaped and looked at him, at the back of his head which glowed, burnished blond, in the late-afternoon autumn light. I had just recently reminded my children about looking at the light of every hour, about the power of really noticing things. Still, I hadn’t realized how fully he had internalized this. I dwell so often on the myriad ways Grace is, often uncomfortably, like me but for some reason reminders that Whit too has a seam of sensitivity and awareness running through him tend to take me aback. I find it particularly moving that my Lego-worshiping, lightsaber-wielding six year old son can also spend long minutes looking out the window. I’m not sure why this surprises me: I guess that Whit, like his mother and many people I love, contains multitudes.
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