Ezra, in the throes of recovery from several simultaneous dread diseases, ate something close to an actual dinner tonight. This led to a significant increase in chattiness at bedtime. In the dark, as he’s supposed to be falling asleep snuggled next to me, he offers in an enthusiastic whisper: “Mama? Red-eyed tree frogs have red toes. And they’re sticky so they can climb every something they want to climb. And they can jump every jump they want to jump.” As Kingsolver once said: “It is senseless to love anything this much.”
Here’s the thing about love: it shows up in more ways than you thought were possible. It’s in the color of your kid’s hair and eyes; the tiny muscles of his chest; the sweet rancid smell of his morning breath; the blurred speed of his words as he tells a very important story very fast; the giggle as his baby brother pats his back for the first time. It’s in his hearty rendering of ABC’s (both “his” version and Alpha-Pig’s version) in the back seat of the car; his intense concentration on linking up his wooden train set; his fierce insistence that the LYING DOWN tiger sticker is more important than the WALKING AROUND tiger sticker. The stone-amber of his eyes; the quick intelligence of his mind; the unselfconsciousness of his dancing.
When he was a baby, Ezra had a tendency to touch, with one hand, a mole on my chest while he nursed. Little did I know that that habit meant my cleavage would become his “lovey,” his touchstone, his ultimate source of comfort. For days, now, during his illnesses, he’s been ritually grabbing for my chest, despite the fact that he hasn’t nursed in eighteen months. And tonight, as we lay reading “The Library Lion,” he said, “Hey, Mama? Is it okay if I take a break now? I need to use this finger to count the children.” In the library in the book, he meant. I have new hope for tomorrow.