Over Mother's Day weekend we attended one of Jackson's friends birthday parties. It was a lovely day and the kids enjoyed a giant water slide in the birthday girl's backyard. Most of the children were older than Jackson but he still jumped right in and enjoyed the sunshine and water.
After a bit, a little girl arrived who was Jackson's age. In her little green and white striped bathing suit, she slowly ventured over to the slide.
Later, I turned away from grown-up discussions about crazy cats and book clubs, to see the two of them sitting alone together in a corner of the play area deep in conversation.
Her mother and I studied their body language and surmised they were comparing wounds.
With such serious faces, they were swapping injury stories. Jackson had some impressive scrapes from recently slipping out of a tree and she had acquired a few band aids on her knee from a tumble at school. They were like two tiny, water-soaked vets one-upping each other.
They talked until cake time. Only the promise of chocolate-chip ice cream and birthday cake could pry him away.
At the end of the party all the children had been fished out of the water and were crowding the picnic table getting dried off.
Jackson's new friend was sitting on the bench, her wet feet covered in clinging blades of grass.
He studied her speckled feet.
"I just LOVE your dirty feet," he proclaimed.