Seven-and-a-Half

freckles

She’s 7-and-a-half.

So big in some ways and yet still so little.

She comes downstairs each morning, bleary eyes fresh from slumber — always the first one up, even though her brother’s bus comes a full hour before hers.

She stumbles into my office and climbs into my lap, interrupting my train of thought as I type a response to one of the gazillion emails that greet me each morning. She nuzzles her face into my neck and attempts to fold her long, sturdy limbs so she fits into my arms.

I close my eyes and will myself to leave my email message unfinished and ignore the dings of Facebook updates and early morning tweets. Instead I breathe in the sweet scent of freshly washed hair and kiss the smooth, satiny cheek that lays against mine.

And we sit, listening to the birds chirping outside and the familiar sounds of the house waking up around us, shifting and repositioning ourselves often so she may remain curled up in my lap like an oversized toddler.

Soon she will hop down and scamper off to get herself ready for school.

Later she’ll be running the neighborhood with her friends, tormenting the dog, arguing with her siblings and coming up with inventive ways of staying up past her bedtime.

But for those few peaceful moments each morning, she’s my baby again.