Everyone was working when I left, but then Kimberlee showed up with Sylvia, Amber, and Walter. I waved as they went into the shop, and then watched while I stood outside on the phone. While Chris was talking to Kimberlee, the kids turned into kids. Amber and Sylvia went and talked in a corner (I still don’t understand girls). Adam kept trying to work. Topher started playing with the little ones. At first it was just wave and wave back … then it turned into a chasing game, with him vaulting through the internal “windows” (just square holes in the non-support walls) while the little ones had to run around the walls through the doors. He’d hide behind the counter while they searched. Once, I watched Topher miss his vault and go head first through a window, only to somersault up on the other side, smiling ear to ear. Shortly after this started, Amber and Sylvia joined it. It became a running, yelling ruckus through the empty(ish) shop.
For a whopping 10 minutes, nobody worried that the place was needing cleaning, or about the kipple on the floor, or the tools on the counter. For 10 minutes I got a glimpse of a world, where everything is chasing and smiles and smacking your older brother or sister if you caught them off guard. For 10 minutes I got to see faces and games that told me I hadn’t spent nearly enough time with my family in way too long. For 10 minutes I watched and knew that this young man had, despite his problems, become one of the kids and part of the family. They don’t play quite the same with outsiders.
For 10 minutes, everything was right.
Those 10 minutes showed me … closing my shop down was the right decision. I’ve missed out on those smiles and that running around.
I don’t know how I survived so long without them.