There's an intimacy in buttoning someone's
shirt buttons -- the proximity to the heart,
how you must ever-so-slightly lean in, nearly
brushing the face of the buttonee --
If it's a child you must stoop, allow yourself
to view the world from the perspective of a three-year-old.
A different place!
Today I buttoned Paul's shirt for him, and was struck
by how the act brought forth in me a tenderness
that is not necessarily accessed on a daily basis.
I think that the last time I buttoned buttons other
than my own was when Nelson was two-ish:
he learned to do his own early, as he did most
everything. He's 21 now, so it's been a few years.
And I thought how this is rarely an act done
in any state other than generosity. It's difficult
to imagine buttoning someone up while angry.
The recipient of this gesture is nearly always
a vulnerable entity, unable -- for whatever reason --
to perform the task oneself.
Of course, neither Paul nor myself anticipated
his broken bone, and we most certainly were not
prepared for the reality of surgery which occurs
tomorrow: adjust the schedule, because it's
going to happen.
But then, that's what life tosses us randomly:
injury, joy, boredom, even death.
This is it: take it. Find something in it.
For me, today, it was a visit back to the ordinary
gestures of mothers with young children.
Or not ordinary, for even in the simplicity
of pulling a button through a bound hole,
this gift of unexpected intimacy with my husband,
I found my own glad heart.