Every Single Morning
"Hi, Skooby. Hey, gimmie some pillow. And some blanket, too."
He giggles as I make a giant fuss getting comfortable, jostling him around excessively, grunting, and rudely yanking our favorite oversized baby blanket towards me. I notice that it appears as if he is beginning to actually use the blanket while he sleeps. That's new. I throw my left arm over him and draw him close to my body as if I am slow dancing with the tiniest prom date in the world. He is quiet for just a moment, and his quick breaths tickle my cheek. He begins speaking about trucks, and, as I do every single morning, I wonder what my kid's dreams are made of.
He allows me to hold him like this for some time, and we have the same discussion we always have at this time of day. He names every piece of construction equipment he can, and then he says the same two words to me. They are deliberate and form a statement, but I know him well enough that they really make up a hopeful question, and I answer him accordingly. We do this every single morning.
"Yes, Erik, Daddy's home," I answer. "He's in bed. Stay a bit and cuddle with your mama. You can't go right now because I love you."
He tries his best to lie still while I hold him as tight as I can without crushing his little body. Not knowing what else to do, he starts another familiar monologue as if he is reading from a script he keeps hidden beneath the mattress. As I hear the exact same words on yet another morning, over and over, I feel a squeezing ache inside my chest. I listen to his beautiful little voice and begin wondering what other children his age talk about in the morning. I honestly don't know. The words he chooses and the way he uses them sometimes seem strange, but I couldn't explain how if I tried.
I do this every single morning.
My thoughts are shattered by a pair of large feet kicking in footie pajamas. It appears as if he is attempting to swim away from me. As I reluctantly loosen my grip on him, his coltish legs swing around effortlessly in order for him to back out around the gate out of bed.
He says, "Thank you, Mama."
"You're welcome. Hey, Erik, I love you so much."
He grabs the reeking, drool-soaked carcass of his favorite stuffed animal, Stinky Dog, and crams whats left of its syphilic-looking nose into his mouth. He shakes his head back and forth, loving the poor thing violently as he begins to go find his father.
He pauses just long enough to respond. He removes the soggy animal from his mouth. A smile stretches across his face, and his eyes squint nearly shut. I'm surprised to see this expression appear in the middle of our strange morning ritual. This certainly isn't in the script. I see the same rare, joy-filled, angel-channeling expression overtake him just as it does when he sings a song with his whole body.
He replies, "I LOVE YOU, TOOOOOO!"