Young boys should never be sent to bed…
they always wake up a day older.
J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland
With fairy steps I stealth into his room and slip under layers of covers to envelop his body. We're spoons.
He's a cozy oven and though barely awake he senses my presence and rolls to his stomach. It's an invitation I cannot refuse.
I begin rubbing his back and remember when one hand covered its entirety; now, it would take one for each year he's lived, 13. He lies as still as stone, afraid if he moves it'll signal the end of this soundless wake-up call. He doesn't realize my secret: this is a forever moment for me, too.
I smooth his skin like fresh sheets on a bed and thoughtfully consider his shape and size. He's growing. "You don't know how good this feels," he murmers softly, but I do and I'm richly compensated by his appreciation and approval. I whisper "Guess what I'm drawing," and trace a letter the size of his back. He says "I." I begin the second letter but before I can finish he anticipates "L-O-V-E-Y-O-U." I chuckle and declare "You're a mind reader!"
I steal one more minute, maybe two and then I kiss the back of his hair. It smells of sleep and boy.
My feet slide to the floor and reluctantly my body follows. Silence breaks as I remember why I'm there–"Time to get up."
My words pierce the air and he doesn't want to hear them any more than I want to speak them.
In a very small sense, I mourn this day he unknowingly celebrates–my baby is one day older and I'm 24 hours closer to an empty nest.
Sometimes, but only in a twinkling, Neverland dwells in a mother's soul.