Tucking my son in at night is a different type of affair. You have to watch out for flailing arms and legs as he flips and flops around his bed, talking about every little thing that seems to be flailing around in his little mind—God, his special toys, food, games, sisters, pretend wars, his fear of embarrassing himself by walking and talking in his sleep, like he most likely will, since he does it most nights.
This night, I come in and flop down beside him. “Charter, this part of my leg is tight, how do you think I could stretch it out?”
This is a question he obviously likes. He flips over to his back, flinging his bare white legs over his head, inadvertently showing me his Spiderman undies.
“Like this?” he questions.
I try his special move and he giggles—his huge grown up teeth still framed by spaces waiting to be filled with more teeth.
I want to remember this boy forever; with just a sprinkling of freckles covering his perfect nose, and his white blond surfer hair hanging down into his blue eyes. I want to carve this happy child into my brain and pull the memory out again when he is a big man with a receding hairline, a booming voice and surrounded by children and grandchildren of his own. I want to etch out this imprint of my boy, my son, while he's still mine and I haven't yet given him to his blushing bride.
He has a perfect miniature six-pack and big, broad man shoulders. His toenails are dirty and I should really tell him to go brush his teeth. He has a tan on his chest, but the tops of his little legs are as white as a fish's belly. He has his daddy's hands. When he was born, the nurses told me they looked like baseball mitts. He has a thin white scar running up his pinky finger where a bowling ball smashed it on his big sister’s 7<sup>th</sup> birthday. He has knobby, skinny knees and muscly legs.
Together we quote Psalm 91. He has my tendency for volume…
Drink, pee, brush teeth…The drill.
Finally down to the business of blankets, dimmed lights and lowered voices. Suddenly, he flings his skinny arms around my neck and it's like a chemical reaction, the memory is set in stone. His little boy smell, the feel of his warm and slightly sticky self pressed against me, his blond hair flying into my eyes, my nose, covering my lips.
The moment is mine forever. Another tiny gem to add to my treasure trove of motherhood.