The batter for cake was half mixed on the counter, the dishes half done in the sink. The kids were half dressed and the baby had a wet diaper. There was sand on the floor from your shoes which I forgot to empty yesterday at the park, and scraps of neon pink and yellow paper glued to the table.
But today, I did it. Today, I took time to dance.
I turned on the music to wake myself up as I packed your bags for gan and took out a fresh diaper for the baby. And then you asked me, with your shirt and tights on and your skirt still on the couch, to dance. I looked at the cake batter, at the dishes at the pink and yellow papers. I opened my mouth. The words in a minute were about to slide off my tongue, like snake oil. I looked at you. You were smiling, tentative. You knew it was a long shot.
And I closed my eyes on all of it except you, and we twirled around on the floor, spreading the sand around. You fell, I fell, we got up. We danced and danced and danced. Your laughter drowned out the lyrics.
We walked to gan a few minutes later, after you put on your skirt and I made your hair in a jaunty ponytail. The baby was in a fresh diaper, but I had left the apartment a mess, something that I never do.
I helped you across the street and blew a kiss. "Have a great day, Princess," I called. I turned to go, to take Coco-pop to her gan. Then there was lots to do before pickup, baby allowing of course.
"Wait, Ima. Cross me back." I turned back to you.
You ran back across by yourself, which you are not allowed to do. A warning rose to my lips, but then suddenly you wrapped your arms around my waist, which is a high as you can reach, and gave me a kiss. "I forgot to give you a kiss and a hug,Ima," you said. Your eyes were as bright as the little pink and yellow papers still stuck to the table.
I'm so glad we took the time to dance.