This is tournament time for hockey, so I anticipated a heart-thumping, energized post about game time drama. There were possibilities as we learned just before the puck drop that our only goalie is out for two weeks with a concussion! Who would stand in net for us? What would a stand-in goalie mean for my son as a defenseman? Maybe tomorrow- we have two more games today.
Instead I settled on a quieter moment from our dinner after the game.
I’m only now realizing how long we sat around together during dinner and after we’d eaten. There was a time when a restaurant meal with two kids meant a strategically filled bag of tricks and the in-and-out efficiency of a bank robbery. But they’re getting big.
I had no bag of tricks. Their grandfather (Pepere) had a pencil in his pocket. And Reins Deli has amazing pickles.
Before dinner, the boys sat to one side, quietly negotiating something as Qaiden munched half a bowl of pickles. The adults chatted.
Once the plates had been cleared the back of a placemat was transformed into a hockey rink, and with only a nickle and one pencil they choreographed the game they had negotiated before dinner. Players moved. Shots fired. A brief inquiry concluded that this was, indeed, a game of their own invention, which became evident as they continued negotiating rules along the way as situations called for them.
At some point, Qaiden stood up and walked around behind Pepere on the far side of the table. Q Stood behind his left shoulder. These days they’re the same height–when one is standing and the other sitting. So there they were brown head to salt-n-pepper head. Qaiden rubbed Pepere’s hair absently.
“Your hair is soft,” he said, “like a white kitten.”
The noise of the deli paused for a heartbeat as we took in what he said. Time paused for the blink of an eye. My dad, chuckled. So the rest of us did, too.
I missed the picture of that moment with the camera, but I’ll hold it with me just the same. A night when he could be big enough to not mind his older brother re-inventing previously agreed upon rules, and small enough for an innocent remark to tickle us all.