He wraps his arms around my neck, his cheek pressed against mine. I hear his soft breathing get longer, deeper, slower. I look at him, he is already asleep. Peaceful. Happy. Warm.
When I try to pull away, he wraps his arms tighter. He pulls me closer. “I just wuff you,” he whispers as I finally leave his tiny bed.
He is both child and baby, already independent and willful. He leaves my side to play and discover and checks in, on his own, periodically. He helps me cook dinner, he is by my side when I do the laundry, always wanting to push the machine so I don’t have to.
He is not perfect but he is perfectly three. And he is perfectly mine.
Lately, as if he senses something is off, he comforts me in the way a sensitive small man can. “I love you the best, Mommy.” “Will you pway wiff me?” “You wanna do trains? Can we snuggle? You’re my favorite.”
It is not that I need to be his favorite, or that I need him to fill all my love-cup. It is simply that this one tiny person has single handedly reminded me why I wanted all this in the first place. Why we worked hard for ten years to get to this very place. Why I went to graduate school before I had babies and why I work at a company that believes in families and encourages you to not work too much and reminds you that family is paramount.
It’s not that we don’t have the the three year old fits and tantrums, but in spite of all those struggles, financial worry, and mid-life crisis, he is my Epic Love Story. His tiny arms, his soft “wuff”, his gentle spirit.
I wouldn’t trade this for anything.
Even a flat in London.