Last night was our second night camping out in the lounge on the super king mattress. We dragged out a single mattress from the boys’ room to put at the head of the big mattress, lit the fire, and negotiated sleeping arrangements. Sol had created a strange little ‘hut’ in the two foot space between the big mattress and the couch. He folded up blankets to use as bedding and dragged a chair to put a pillow under. He was feverish but convinced this was his ideal sleeping arrangement. Joaquin and Zaviera, took up position next to me on the main bed, and Dan sat in one of the recliners, working on school reports.
The rain came in waves. A tide pouring over the house and retreating as I read to the children from the original ‘Peter Pan’. Zaviera nestled her nose into my neck and Joaquin, sitting half on my chest, kept himself occupied fighting villains with the army of his fingers. Every few paragraphs he would get carried away by his victories and whisper, “KABOOSH! I GOTS YOU!” Zaviera and Sol would retaliate with, “Joaquin! QUIET!”
At one point, Zaviera said to me, “Joaquin thinks everything is a sport. He thinks eating popcorn is a sport. He thinks going pee is a sport. He thinks getting dressed is a sport. He thinks…” and Joaquin was already doing a flip on the mattress over my legs. “See?” she sighed. “He’s always trying to win at everything. Can’t he just do something without it being a sport?” I said to her, “Sweet pea, that’s just his nature.” “Settle down, Joaquin!” she yelled. “Alright, are we done reading?!” I asked. A chorus of “No!” had me continuing on the grand adventure of the Darlings and Peter Pan.
It is my first time reading the original Peter Pan and I’m already enchanted by the brilliance of the writing. We are two chapters in and the ‘hidden kiss’ that exists at the edge of Mrs. Darling’s smile, the one hidden in her ‘innermost box’, has captured my mind.
When I was a little girl, around Zaviera’s age, I would wait for Peter Pan at bedtime. I kept thinking if I arranged my bedding correctly or did something wild and fun during the day, my perfect playmate would arrive and we would adventure through life together. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to escape adulthood; I just didn’t want to lose my joy and imagination. I loved the idea of having a home, children, and responsibilities, but I wanted to play at these things, not be burdened by them. I didn’t want a little boy that refused to grow-up. I wanted a companion to discover my hidden kiss.
It has been a difficult year for us and because of this, I’ve been quiet here. I’ve missed writing down the details and stories of my day-to-day life with my family, but it hasn’t been time for me to scatter my thoughts freely, because I’ve been in a process of finding my own shadow. And in a funny sort of reversal, I’ve found that it has been the man that saw my hidden kiss, the one nobody else could see, that has been waiting patiently for me to settle down long enough, to stop fidgeting and trust so that together, we could sew it back onto my heels.
Dan is the Neverland of my heart. We will watch one another grow old but our spirits will only grow stronger, our love burn deeper. He is the one that holds my hand and looks me in the eyes and says, “Together, we can fly.” And he is never lying. He means it.
Last night as I hummed the children to sleep, I felt anxiety about all of the things I want to be able to do to celebrate the birth of this extraordinary man…my husband. Over the eleven years since we have found one another, he has believed in me without until finally, slowly, I’ve felt that childhood wonder slowly creep out from hiding.
As I hummed the children to sleep, Sol fidgeted and complained of the way his fingers were feeling unusually large and his head disproportionately small. He’d whimper every once in a while about the way he felt as though he was tilting his backwards and his bones weren’t quite right in his body. I’d check his temperature and Dan would suggest, “Maybe sleeping with your head under a chair isn’t helping.” Sol would grumble a reply. Dan and I would catch one another’s eyes and smile.
When the room settled in the way it does when the children have finally succumbed to their dreams, Dan lifted Zaviera and placed her on the single mattress. He slipped beneath the blankets and gathered me to him. In his arms, I was mother and little girl, best friend and wife, but most importantly I was home.
That hidden kiss is no longer hidden at the corner of my smile.
It defines my entire face.