Throwback to June 2013.
He curls into my side, Mama George cushioning his head. Without prodding he turns the page, sending a wrinkle across an excavator’s scoop. Somehow it does not bother me tonight. There is no inward cringe or tamped down cry to “be careful!” This sleepy boy – my sleepy boy – unknowingly has me in the palm of his hand.
It started with me coming home to an empty house. Every room was blissfully quiet and as I climbed the staircase to the second floor nary a step dared to creak. This. This is what a tired, aching mama needed after a Monday at the office. While the boys grocery shopped for supper, I curled up in bed to rest.
Then the garage door sounded, another door swung open, and Chipmunk scurried up the stairs. In the hurry and excitement he did not see me waiting at the landing. But then he did see me and the grin lighting up his face made my heart stop. How do I bottle this sweet toddler adoration?
Ever so proud, he ecstatically pointed to the flowers in his trailing Daddy’s hand. Beautiful pink flowers. Ones Chipmunk insisted they buy for me. He would not leave the store without a bundle, resolute in his specificity. He wanted the pricey ones, that mama’s boy. As they went down the row, looking at bouquet after bouquet, Chipmunk shook his head and sounded an emphatic “no” for each one. Then the pink ones came and my darling two-year-old son knew they were the ones. And he was right.
Of course, how could any flower be wrong when given of the simplest and purest intentions? No other bouquet will ever compare to this one. Never.
He buttered me up, that smart boy. After two bites of salad I let him have a cupcake. What is my parenting coming to? Then the three of us curled up for snuggles and a movie, followed by pajamas; teeth brushing; and story time. A story time where our normally rambunctious boy curls quietly into my side and listens. His eyes droop. A yawn escapes. He softly mumbles words with me and haphazardly turns pages.
Quiet. Soothing. Wonderful.
In these moments he is still my baby. It’s an affliction he will never quite outgrow. For he has, in his tiny toddler hands, my heart. His mama’s heart. Forever and always.