Early morning. His tiny hand finds mine across the bed. He holds it gently.
I’d like more sleep, but we get up. Just me and him. Taking little steps downstairs. He hops on to my lap and cuddles in. I plunge my nose into his snowy hair and breathe it all in.
He asks for milk, and he cuddles in even tighter. The way he forms a crescent moon around me is automatic now. He closes his eyes and drinks, every so often appearing from under his long eyelashes to smile. Or to giggle. His fingertips trace my skin in swooshes and swirls. Familiar soothing patterns.
The ritual continues. He sits on his little couch, I tuck the blanket around him, and turn on the TV. I start tapping on the keyboard and turn around to see him. There he is, all 2 years and 10 months of him. How did I end up a mother of this beautiful boy? Is this really my life? I immediately feel so old in the glow of his youth. My body all creaky and torn. His all springy and soft.
He looks up at me staring at him. And breaks into a beaming smile. Never a half-hearted one. He gives his whole heart, this boy.
It’s not always a flawless life we have. Our days have some certainties. I know in an hour he’ll smear his breakfast all over the table. I know in 2 hours he’ll be fighting with his sister. I know in 3 hours he’ll upturn the washing pile – again. And I know in 12 hours when it’s nearly time for bed he’ll approach a neat pile of toys and say “I love mess! I want mess!”
But these mornings… these mornings are perfect. It’s when I remember I won’t have a 2 year old forever. It’s when I remember he’s probably the last 2 year old I’ll ever have. And it’s when I know that one day I’ll blink and see a man.
And so I wake early with him. Swallowing his sweetness. Holding his gentle hand.