Arms wrapped around my neck, legs wrapped around my body, head tucked perfectly just under mine. "Do you want to sit with Mama for a minute." A little nod. We sit in the glider and he stays tightly snuggled against me. I sing "African Skies" and listen to him breathe. A little raspy. Maybe a new cold. When I finish the song we rock a little while before he pulls away and looks at me, saying and signing "More, more." "More singing?" He nods and settles back into his snuggle spot. I sing him his lullaby. Near the end, he starts to kind of sing along. "Ma-ma. Maaaaa-ma." "Yes, Walter. Mama loves you. I love you, Walter." He doesn't say "I love you," yet, although sometimes I think he's trying to sound out the words. He has his own sign for "I love you." He looks at you thoughtfully and pats his hand gently on your chest. He leaned back and did that to me, then reached up, pointer finger extended. "Nose," he said. "Yes. Nose."
"Are you ready to go back to bed?" I'd asked him earlier and he'd given a quiet but definitive "No." It's a word he's quite taken with these days. This time when I ask he's already kind of leaning toward his crib, looking that direction. I get him all settled in with his pillow, his bunny and his blanket. No crying, no protests. He's such a big boy, now. He knows sleep is a good thing.
A good thing, indeed. Today was a hard day for Mama, for many reasons. But this moment makes it entirely different. I'm ready, now, to call it a night, letting the sweetness of this time with my son rock me to sleep.