For one year olds, the game of peek-a-boo is endlessly entertaining. I remember sitting in front of Wonder day after day, repeating the same exercise:
It didn’t matter if you said the words”Peek-a-boo.” His joy was clear and unending. YOU WERE GONE AND NOW YOU’RE HERE. LIFE IS PERFECT.
Researchers say peek-a-boo engages infants because they are learning object permanence; they’re dealing with the idea that objects exist even when we can’t see them. When they don’t have a good grasp on that, peek-a-boo is a riot. Your face is like a jack-in-the-box that they’re seeing for the first time, every time.
After his heart surgery, I realized his peek-a-boo joy in a very simple way because I had imagined the reality of him being gone. For a long time, I was stuck in that moment of joy — seeing his face, running my hand down his cheek. He was right in front of me. He really was. He still is.
How lucky am I? It makes me giggle. It makes me smile. It makes me snuggle into bed or tuck into a long board game. It makes these moments matter.
So, I drew a peek-a-boo dragon.
He’s not all I want him to be, but the dragon I received from my friend Lee Moyer reminded me that the journey is long and full of wonders. I’ve peeked at Lee’s work time and time again, and this dragon represents my curiosity, coupled with astonishment.
You see, Lee colored in the dragon that I worked on a few days ago, and it’s like the dragon took flight.
I could see him hovering there in the air, on the edge of joy, holding up the sky for one breathtaking moment.
It was like peek-a-boo. I didn’t expect that dragon to be there, but it was, and oh my gosh, it is a beauty — full of possibility and grace.
Thank you, Lee, for all the joy you bring me, and all the surprises.