Her tiny hand clutches the neck of my shirt. As she rhythmically drinks, she opens and closes her grip, her fingertips brushing my collar bone. She glances up, her eyes lazy with trust and comfort.
I sneeze and she pulls back in scared surprise, stares for three seconds, then giggles and kicks in unabashed glee. Her eyes sparkle at me as if we are sharing the best joke ever told, which we are. She goes back to drinking, absent-mindedly tickling my side with her other hand.
When she’s done, she releases a sigh from deep within her barrel-like belly and nuzzles down to sleep.
There is nothing that is at once so human, so animal, and so divine as this.
Looking down at my child’s perfect cheek, it’s hard to comprehend that something so grand can be squeezed into such a small moment.
God is a show-off in the throw-away moments of life. Like the yellow flower Alexandra brought me from the mountainside. Few humans will ever see or pay attention to the flower’s tiny petals, but they are as exquisite and detailed as a prize orchid all the same.
My daughter Avalon will not remember these moments. They will become woefully blurry to me as the years pass. But in these small moments of the night, I capture a flicker of the universe as it should be. Something at once so delicate and so heady.
Beauty, love and purity written in the curve of a baby’s closed lids while her fingers trace open and closed, open and closed on my chest.