there is so much about this photo that i love. i love the way this little girl's hand is resting on her ankle, like she has just paused to take a breath. i love the way those little legs can bend. an early yoga pose. of course, i have to love that messy face and that a person who loved her decided to capture that mess instead of insisting on clean and perfect. i love the joy on that messy face. i love those spice jars hanging. i can see them in my mind in two other kitchens and wish i had them now as they would be perfectly filled with vintage buttons and arranged by color. i love that wallpaper and can close my eyes and feel the texture of it on my fingertips and i can see those pretty hideous fabric window coverings in the breakfast nook attached to the kitchen. i love that piece of wood to the right of the girl as it is the frame of the magic pass-through window between the kitchen and the family room of this most favorite home.
i can close my eyes and see almost every nook of that most beloved childhood home of this little girl...this little girl who was me...who is me...who is a part of me. this little girl who is inside me. this little girl who whispers to me. i can see the closet under the stairs where we kept the bright-orange cushions for the furniture on the screened-in porch. i can see the black and white nubby fabric-covered couch directly across from the fireplace. i can see the stockings made by my grandmother, my father's mother, hanging. i can see the window seat built-in bench next to the fireplace and i can feel it as i lift it open to peek inside. i can see the built-in bookshelves lined with books. and i can see the one short shelf with the parenting books that i would insist i needed to read when faye, my first cabbage patch kid, arrived for christmas. i can see the all white very small living room with the tiny blue leather couch and the tableclothed round table that was really made of cardboard that i accidentally left in the basement of my last apartment in indiana. i can peek across the entryway and see the dining room with the navy blue with a peek of red wallpaper and matching curtains. i can see family around the dining room table and can look down to see a fancy red perfect for the holidays dress and black patent leather shoes with a bow. i turn and see a little boy wearing fuzzy green pajamas sitting on the stairs and going up one step at a time while facing forward and chattering away. i see the landing outside a bedroom with blue carpet and blue flowered wallpaper. i see the tall bed with the old iron bedframe and the fuschia fabric heart that hangs from the bed post. i see the wooden sign that says the little girl's name and has a slightly crooked z. i see the white shelves that hold the dolls i received every birthday and christmas. i want to rearrange them again; pairing them off by best friends or by couple or by color. i see the ice skating girl's blue velvet dress and fluffy white muff and the ice skating boy with matching clothes. i want a little girl who will arrange those dolls in her blue room. i smell the fresh pink and white flowered sheets on the bed that will one day keep traveler warm as i sit outside with him on a february day, on his last day, when i can't get him to come back inside and i sing to him and read to him as i wait for jonny to get home so we can take him to the vet. i see the ballerina pillowcase that i still use because it takes me back to this room, this most favorite of rooms. i see a hope chest that i am not really supposed to open but that i sometimes peek inside just for a moment as i want to always be good but also want to always know. i never touch anything. i just want to peek. i close my eyes and i can see the other rooms. i see the little tiny sewing room with the funny closet that had stairs. i see the little boy's room filled with toys. i see the guest room with the wallpaper that had hidden animals i would see when i had pnemonia and stayed in that room so my parents could hear me in the middle of the night. i see the door to the attic that housed a little girl's perfect playroom. and i hear the voices. the voices of a young family learning together and doing the best that they can. i hear those voices and the sounds of a home. i hear my grandparent's car pull into the driveway and i see myself run to open the garage door and then jump the steps down to the garage floor and duck under the door as it opens so that i can be the first to hug her. i see the sandbox and the rhodedendrins in bloom and the bird feeders and the three fir trees and the small bit of woods and i wish, i wish in this moment, i wish i could be there, right there, back inside that home...hearing those voices...and feeling my heart burst with love.