There is a box in the kitchen. A box beside their bed. There’s a box under the dining room table, too. You’d think I’d have time to open them, but as it turns out, my kids are excellent box openers. Crayons, keys, and the tip of a superhero toe performs well under anticipation. When ordering anything, arrival days are anonymous, conversations are scarce. Opening a box is part curiosity, part thriftiness, part silly function. Soon after going at it, they realize that the contents are boring, “No toys, again!” they exclaim. But on several other mornings and late evenings, the contents are things to be played with. They are there to feed their curious minds, and not in a way one could really plan for. River yells something, Oak goes along with it. And I offer to get an additional piece that they may need, and beg them not to mess up too terribly.
On Sunday, before going to a movie, they were chefs after finding an old swaddling blanket in a giveaway box. Then warriors after opening another box that was in the kitchen. I don’t think I am particularly great at this mothering thing, but lately, seeing how they can still play and live with curiosity has been one of my great comforts, in the slices of quiet that live within our walls.
They ask questions and I deliver answers about pretty much anything. But that unique untethered curiosity that lives within mundane hours and functional items, delivered on a stoop, or found in the aisles of our corner store at 6 pm on a Tuesday when mommy forgot their was a field trip to pack lunch for, is something I have been standing back at. Holding close. A rocking kind of comfort.