I would have seen the Lego had I turned on the lights. But I know the route from our downstairs bathroom to my bed by heart. Only seven steps in the dark and I’m at the stairs. From there I guide my hand along the railing and wall to our bedroom where I’m ready to crash.
But on this night, a red Lego was waiting for me on step number three.
My calf is already sore from a racquetball accident. It would have healed by now, but I refuse to stay off the basketball court long enough for it to properly heal.
“Why can’t the kids pickup their toys?” is the first thought through my mind. Had I not been the only one awake I would have yelled loud enough for them to hear.
My ankle is fine. I’m just tired from reminding the kids to pickup their toys before heading to bed.
The next morning nobody admits to leaving out the Lego when I describe my adventure from the night before. Could be any of them. Yet I know that pinning the blame on one of them won’t make my foot feel better.
I let it go.
My afternoon was spent in downtown Seattle. Oh, how I miss working in the city. The sounds and scents make the area feel so alive. I walked through the neighborhoods, and it felt as though it were 1994 and I’d just moved to the Emerald City all over again. Many of the same florists, bakeries and second-hand stores are still in business. The coffee shops were packed on this crisp March afternoon, and the wind blew the roasted evidence through the streets.
Kim picked me up from the train station tonight. Once home, I plopped on the couch and tried to rest my mind with Sponge Bob blaring in the background. All that walking had caught up to me.
And that’s when I noticed our two year old son running to the top of the stairs. His momentum nearly took him down the first set of steps, but he clung to the wall just enough to gather himself. From behind his back appeared a Lego that he promptly tossed down to the landing. He giggled before he ran off in search of more.
Now it began to make sense.
I watched Kai search. Then run, toss and giggle. Over and over until the landing was covered in Legos and other toys.
That’s my son, I thought. He’s so happy. So carefree. Maybe I should stop him but I don’t. I know I would have done the same thing. If he enjoys tossing Legos today does that mean he’ll toss around a baseball in the front yard with his father one day?
Tonight, Kim placed an exhausted little boy in my arms as we watched the Office. He was so tired he allowed me to finger comb his floppy blonde hair without pushing my hand away. I looked at his face and wondered aloud if he looks more like Kim or me. I don’t recall his three siblings being so active or demanding at this age. Maybe they were, and my memory is fading with age.
But these few minutes with Kai beat the Office. Even the one hour episodes. Moments like this don’t last long. Eventually he awakes and scampers away. There are endless Legos to throw.
And if I go to bed with another sore foot tonight, it will have been worth it.