Curled up together on the couch, a fuzzy and soft creamy blanket over both of us. His head nestled into the hollow of my shoulder, soft hair just under my chin. He’d pulled my arms around him, then burrowed one small hand into one of mine. Relaxed, we watched How to Train Your Dragon like this.
The day had been long, but full of activity and fun. Karate, then swim class, lunch, then playtime in the park. He counted ducks in the pond – 21, one more than usual. The newcomer was different, and he surprised me by listing the differences he could see: she was smaller, had a white belly, was missing the blue wing patches, her bill was smaller, she had ‘bumps’ (not sure what he meant by that), she wouldn’t come close, and the other ducks didn’t seem to like her. We wound up at a playground, where he played for well over an hour, running and climbing, exploring the woodsy boundary of the playground, chasing and being chased by monsters.
I want to always remember how his hair smelled – a little of shampoo, and a lot of the cool autumn weather he’d spent the afternoon playing in, and just that little something that’s ‘little boy’ just as plainly as a newborn smells like a newborn.
I want to always remember how his hand slipped out of mine to rub his face, then back into mine, trusting that it would be there.
I want to always remember how relaxed he was, and how he’d smile up at me every now and then, and then pull my arms tighter around him.
I want to always remember how he rubbed his cheek against my chest, and took a long, slow, deep breath. How he said, “I can hear your heart beat, Mama,” quietly.
I want to creep back into his bedroom, where he’s sprawled out over the covers, with Bunny clutched in one hand, and hold him.