“I just feel a little bit sad right now, sweetheart. That’s all.”
Worried blue eyes searched my face. “Why are you sad?”
I opened my arms, and Brian climbed into my lap, snuggling close. I rested my chin against his blonde hair and watched as he traced the lines on my palms with his tiny fingers.
“Do you have a tummy ache?” he asked, playing with my moonstone ring.
I smiled. “No—no tummy ache.”
“Then why are you sad?” he persisted.
I thought for a minute, unsure how to answer.
“Remember when your friend Mike started hanging out with Danny and didn’t want to play with you as much anymore?” I asked finally.
“Yes.” He pushed against the arm of the chair with one foot.
“And remember how bad that made you feel that he liked someone else better?”
I took a deep breath. “Well it’s sort of like that for me right now. John has found a friend he likes better than me, and it makes me feel a little lonely.”
He frowned up at me. “That’s not very nice.”
“No it isn’t,” I agreed. “But you know what’s worse?”
Brian shook his head. “What?”
“Getting caught by the Tickle Monster!” I grabbed him under the arms and tickled him while he squealed in delight. We chased each other around the room, hiccupping with laughter until we collapsed into a happy breathless heap on the floor.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I was curled up in the old wingback, reading a novel I had picked up from the used bookstore, when Brian dragged a kitchen chair into the room.
“What in the world are you doing?” I asked, putting down my book.
He laughed and ran out of the room. A moment later he reappeared, this time with the little radio I kept in the kitchen. He plugged it into the wall and turned it on.
The DJ’s voice came over the radio. “This next song goes out from Brian to his mom to help her not be sad today.”
Strains of Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight filled the room.
A lump rose in my throat. "What? " I began. “How in the world did you figure out how to . . .”
Brian took my hand and pulled me out of the chair. “Come on mama, dance with me.”
Leading me over to the middle of the room, he climbed up onto the kitchen chair. “So we’re the same size,” he explained.
Solemnly, he put one hand on my left shoulder and took my right hand in his.
And we danced.
I circled the chair slowly as we swayed back and forth to the music.
I remembered . . .
the time I had made John get out of the car and dance with me . . .
the rain pouring down, drenching us both. . .
my children's laughing faces pressed against the rear windows . . .
Clapton singing on the car stereo. . .
Suddenly I was overcome with a fierce and overwhelming love for this child who watched me now with shining eyes, so proud of his gift to me. My son had given me the one thing he felt was most precious—a single moment in time.
Leaning forward, I kissed him on the forehead, breathing in his little boy scent of grass, sweat, Play-dough, cookies, and baby shampoo. "Thank you," I whispered.
He grinned. "You're welcome," he said, and stood on his toes to make himself a little taller.
I closed my eyes, smiling . . .
And we danced.