This is a photograph I did not take of my nephew, age four, who sees his father struggling with a burden or a stubborn animal, and gently pats his arm: Daddy don't worry, you got this
Or, I'll help you. We're a team.
who wants to be Santa Claus when he grows up, and stomps down the stairs yelling HERE COMES DANGER!
an eerie window back in time to my brother at that age, the ladykiller of preschool, who wrestles with big dogs, who pees in the front yard, who fiercely finds the fun.
no longer too shy to open presents in front of me. He rips into any box with glee, and no matter what's inside he always whispers, whoa. It's often literally garbage, because four thinks every piece of plastic is fun, so I save all my peanut butter lids. Still, he surprised me by reaching into the most recent box of nonsense and pulling out the dumbest thing, something I had almost thrown away instead, the world's saddest little knotty skein of leftover yarn.
He said, "Even this, for me?" like he just could not believe his good luck, and shook that ratty mess triumphantly in the air.