I keep Baby E's little tykes red shovel here, propped up right in front of my parking spot in our garage. Year round, season in, season out. It's the first thing I see as the garage door opens, and it can never be missed. On purpose.
"Mom, when we get home, can we make those mini apple tarts again?" We are only a few, short blocks from home, and I begin to slow down in anticipation of the turn ahead.
I sigh, too audibly to not be heard, all I can think of is how behind I am with everything that I need to do. "Let's see, I have a lot to do first, alright?"
"I hope we can, those are so good, and fun. If we do make them, can I use the wooden hole puncher to push down the dough to make the room for the apple filling?"
His request breaks my heart, but we've been gone all day, and I have so much catching up to do before it's time to make dinner.
I turn right, and head up the short distance to our house. As I pull in front of the driveway, I reach for the remote, and press the button for the garage door to open. It opens ever so slowly, and then I see it. As the garage door opens, I catch sight of what I always keep right.there. Right there in the line of fire. Propped up in all it's bright redness, so sharp against the white drywall of the garage. It's Baby E's red shovel.
I placed it there so that I have to watch it while I pull the car in. I have it there so that it has to be walked past as I enter our house through the back door. I have it there for me to see every time that the garage door lurches open.
The magical, mystical object of power that this object is. It reminds me that he will not always be the size of this little shovel. This shovel fits him now, but it'll be one day very soon, when he'll be too big, too old for it. He won't look to me, his most comfortable friend, the one that he wants to do all things with. I am like his red shovel to him. I am there, I am his closest friend, I serve all purposes. I can scoop sand, or smooth lumps out of mud puddles, or make bricks out of snow.
I placed his shovel there when we bought it for him 4 years ago, when he was too little to handle it masterfully. Every year, he has grown more adept at his use of it. It still suits his purposes. I placed it there, so that I would see it, and I do see it. Five or more times a day, I see it. I see it coming and I see it going. It's always clearly there.
It shouts to me, "I'm holding a handful of diamonds here for you, measured in minutes. If you want them, they're here."
I pull the car into the garage, I see the little red shovel. I smile while I shut the engine off.
"I know why you're quiet, Mom, we can't make the pies, right?"
I look at the little red shovel, "Actually, you know what I was thinking? I think your brothers would love your apple pies for dinner."