Andjoli is growing reckless– rolling, crashing, smashing into the hard parts of furniture and the greater world. But she insists on being on the ground, taking it on and in. And it is a hard watch to see such a small and uncoordinated thing insist on fending for herself, until she is bumped and banged, crumpled and howling.

B often spends his days with the little one while I work in the house. I hear them, playing in the front room, coming and going from walks. His care for her is amazing, but I have not, in eight months time, been able even once to keep a steady head or heartbeat when she cries. The seconds between us are reddened and frantic. I do not remember to breathe, until I have her in my arms, and we both know she is alright.

B does not meet her anxiety with his own. And he looks at me, curious and mild, as I barrel from office to yard, a running savior to a child who is really just fine. As ridiculous as I must look, I can not seem to help myself.

Yesterday, casting papers to the side and in a flurry I took off toward the back yard at the first howl. By the time I arrived at the glass door she was up in his arms. I caught my breath, and paused. B did not know I was watching, as he bent over to kiss her tears away. As I have bent over his wet face. There is something small and intimate, about meeting a tear with a kiss, and even at eight months old, Andjoli seemed to notice. Because she settled.

I breathed something normal, and scolded myself, for my wild response. And without anyone growing privy to my presence, I snuck back and recollected my papers, calmed and enchanted by the way B handles himself and our little girl when I leave her unsnatched.

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