I sit like an oasis. My torso representing the tall date palms and my legs forming a diamond shape. In the midst of the pool is the purest form of innocence. The luxury of purity is his alone. He plays. Not scared of the depth. Not worried about the locked shores. Not intimidated by the palms looming over him. He plays. He explores in that limited resource. But he still finds amusement and preoccupation there. He tries his hand at something and looks all around him. He looks up finally. Seeking approval, looking for a kind eye - a branch that will almost stoop over him and bless him. Let him know he is safe and he is right in his own little way. He pauses for a bit - reasons only known to him. Is he distracted? Did something else catch his attention? Or is he thinking? His little mind brimming with curiosity and holding true to its reputation - a sponge.
Meanwhile I look down. In my mind's eye I see what he sees now. But not after I equally deliberate and wonder at his curiosity. Does he love me? Does he feel safe? Does he trust me? Does he know he can trust me? If he does trust me, is that a burden or a boon?
A child's curiosity is as much fascinating as it is frightening to resolve. Those hungry eyes that latch on to yours and do not flinch because they are sure you have the answers. It is indeed a boon and a boost to the ego to know you have the answers. And when you don't, even though you won’t be judged, you are harsher upon your conscious than is allowed.
I rest my chin upon his head. It’s small and warm and has a comforting baby scent. The connect is instant. He grabs my fingers and plays and is almost giving me instructions how to use them. He stops and gazes into the infinite. Again that look and curiosity. Again I’m perturbed. What is in that little mind with a wild vast imagination? I almost want to scoop him up and rest him on my shoulder and comfort him into a long deep sleep. How cruel of me. All he wants to do is explore. The clock has barely started on his life here and I am already planning his nap. This time in the oasis I created for him, I can’t guarantee again or many times over. But it is important to him.
During the above train of thought, he has done something: created in the sands. And now he seeks my approval. He is an animal. He can sense my breath and heartbeat. He will know instantly if I am disapproving or fake or genuine; almost like he can smell it on me and he will feed off that sense. It is important that this phase be as transparent and genuine as can be. With care and love and unflinching attention I marvel at him and shower him with my approval. I don’t think I have ever cared enough to instantly commit so much of my time and energy to anything else as much as I did in this moment. My mind, my heart, my vision, my senses were all commanded by this little creature - this beautiful being.
As he smiles, gleefully giggles and latches on to me I feel a rush of relief and content. Relief that I created something beautiful for him and content that selfishly I had stolen that moment for me.