I'm paging through my notebook, past the scrawls and story-starts, looking for a blank page and hoping for some inspiration before I get there. I don't know what to write about tonight.
And then, I see it.
It's a note written in a child's hand, tucked between pages of my writing. It sits there like a present, one I know I will be even more breathless to unwrap in those later on years I can hardly imagine right now.
She must have penned it a year or so ago, back when her only font was CAPS LOCK and she spelled words largely without the use of vowels. It reads as a single sentence, taking up several lines, starting with DER MAMA and ending with LOV C-. In between, she tells me the title of her favorite book.
It makes me smile. Of course. Then it makes me wonder:
Now that she's read so many more books, has her favorite changed? I don't even know.
Why not? Does the laundry stop up my ears? Is dinner all that fills my head? Am I always on the cusp of something, looking back at her over my shoulder, saying uh-huh even while I've got one foot over the cliff and I'm just about gone?
No, not always. But definitely sometimes.
Tomorrow, I'll ask her.
Maybe at breakfast, if I sit down across from her for a second instead of scurrying to pack her lunch. Or maybe when we're walking to the bus stop, if she doesn't bound ahead before I get the chance. If not then, I'll try after school before she starts homework and we start the spiral of dinner and bedtime and work for me.
But I better ask tomorrow. Not wait another day.
Because next time I blink she'll be 15. And I'm not sure that she'll be leaving me secret notes anymore.