A Sweatshirt

Two weekends ago the weather in this corner of North Yorkshire turned (with apologies to my American friends) to full-blast spring: high 50s/low 60s, mild breeze, bright sun, and a cloudless sky. We took to the backyard and stayed all day long, tidying up the winter dregs and throwing away debris.

Fun fact: when you have a public footpath behind your house and the wind in your area regularly kicks up to gale-force strength on Recycling Day, you routinely find everyone else’s empty crisp packets and Coke cans in your garden.

At some point I dragged out a bunch of books and was lying on my side reading to the girls. It was a bit cool so I put on a large draping-front wrap cardigan. It’s the sort of vaguely trendy yet shapeless garment I favor these days, worn over leggings, because it gives the illusion of having dressed without actually putting on real pants. Maggie got down next to me.

“I’m cold. I need a sweatshirt.”

“Okay. Yours are upstairs.”

“No, I need your sweatshirt.” With that, she pulled out the side closest to the ground to make a blanket to lie upon, lay down next to me, and wrapped the other side of the cardigan around her. “Hug me. Don’t squeeze me.”

I followed orders, and I’m not sure how long we stayed like that. It wasn’t long; maybe a minute and a half? Surely no more than two minutes. But it was so quiet, and she patted my face, and I hugged her but did not squeeze, and promised myself I would write it down so I would never forget that silent moment of perfect, miraculous contentment.

Amazing how ninety quick seconds on a lazy Sunday afternoon can turn into one of those moments you’ll want to come back to and live in forever.