"What's that, Daddy?" Charlotte Camille Booth pointed one tiny finger at the picture sitting on the kitchen table. It showed six little hand prints, in all different colors of paint, surrounding two larger prints.
Booth scooted his youngest (by 5 minutes) daughter closer to the table and picked up the frame. "That, peanut, is a picture your Auntie Angela made for us when you and your brother and sister were born."
"Wow..." Charlotte, or CeCe as her family called her, was always amazed by anything her favorite aunt Angela did. "Who's hand prints are they, Daddy?"
Grinning at the memory of the absolute mess that resulted from such a simple picture, Booth began to explain each brightly colored image. "See the blue prints? Those hands belong to your brother, Henry. Since he is the oldest, we put his first."
"I like Henry. He's smart, like Mama." CeCe nodded her head, chestnut curls bobbing against her father's neck.
"He certainly is." Booth agreed. His son was the mirror image of his mother, Temperance. From his auburn hair and piercing blue eyes, to his genius IQ, Booth referred to him as their "Bones Clone".
"And these hands.." He continued, "are your sister Christine's. See how long her fingers are?" He traced the tiny painted phalanges with affection.
CeCe followed her father's finger along the picture. "They're bigger than Henry's! And he's a boy!"
Booth chuckled. "Don't let your mother hear you say that, baby. Even if it is true. Your sister is going to be as tall as your mom, I think."
"And she looks like Mama, too! Chrissy is pretty." CeCe worshiped her older sister, even though they were essentially the same age. Christine did look like Brennan, but she had her dad's outgoing personality to go with her looks.
"You're just as beautiful as your sister, CeCe. Don't ever doubt that. How can you not be? You look just like me." He chucked her affectionately under her little chin, eliciting a giggle.
"So these are my hands, Daddy? The pink ones? I like pink." She pointed to the last set of small hands.
"Yes, baby. You have the smallest hands, because you were the smallest when you were born." CeCe was a complete and total daddy's girl and she knew it. She not only had her father's dark brown eyes and brown hair, she also possessed his naturally happy personality and generous nature. Brennan frequently commented that her youngest daughter often displayed looks and gestures that were the spitting image of Booth, so much so that she would seek her out before anyone when she needed comfort or a hug. "She's just like a Mini Booth, Seeley. I can't resist her." Brennan would say.
"I don't like being the smallest, Daddy. I wanna be big like Chrissy." An adorable pout appeared on a tiny lip, making Booth laugh outright.
"Oh, sweetheart. We can't all be tall, or a genius or beautiful. God made everyone different, that's what makes the world so interesting." Booth pulled CeCe close. "Wouldn't it be boring if we were all exactly alike?"
CeCe sighed dramatically. "I suppose."
"How about we hang this picture back up for Mama, huh? Your brother broke the frame with his hockey stick, but now that we've fixed it we can put it on the wall in the hallway, huh?" Booth moved to pick the picture up, but his daughter stopped him.
"What about the big hands, Daddy And why are they mixed up like that?"
"Oh. Those are mine and your Mama's hands. The red one is Mom and the green one is mine."
"Daddy! Look how big your hand is!" CeCe was awed by the outline of her father's hand, which filled more that three times the space hers did.
"Well, I'm a grown up. Of course my hand is going to be bigger, baby." He lifted the picture in one hand and held CeCe with the other arm, carrying them both into the hallway. He hung the picture reverently, running his finger along the tiny hands one more time. "The reason our hands are intertwined, mixed up like you said, is to show that your mom and I are connected. That we are the center of the family and that we share the same space in the world."
"But Daddy, it's impossible for two objects to occupy the same space!"
CeCe was lifted out of her father's arms and into the waiting arms of her mother. "Oh, I disagree, Charlotte." Brennan smiled at her husband and held her daughter close. "Sometimes, science can't explain everything."
"Especially love, right Bones?"
"Mmmm. That, especially."