The sun had not begun to shed light on the morning and darkness still engulfed the house. The soft patter of feet entered my room.
"Mom....Mommy," a faint and scratchy voice called me from my bedside.
"What?, Huh? Ethan?" I responded, trying to wake from my deep slumber.
"Mommy, my throat really hurts. I can barely swallow." The sickness, altering his voice so it was not familiar to me.
A very painful cough spilled from his mouth and I nearly clutched my own chest in reaction. His pain is my pain, his suffering is my very own.
"Ok, well, get in bed with me. You don't have to have to go to school today," I said.
As he climbed into bed, I heard him whisper, "Mommy, can I have some snuggle?"
The world could have stopped at that moment and nothing would have kept me from saying yes. My handsome, sweet, loving son who has been testing his independence for a little while. The son who shows a bit of embarrassment when I come in for that public kiss or hug. But now, he needs me and I am there to cozy up with him, rub and kiss his forehead and hold him as long as he will let me.
As he crawled into bed and nestled into my neck, I could hear the soft, wheezing sound of his breathing. After a while, I exited the bed to get some medicine to ease his pain.
The morning ritual dictated that I move along in preparing for the day, getting the other two ready for school. But, I checked back on him, periodically, to see how he was faring. Every time, he gave me this little smile that reminded me of when he was just an infant - vulnerable, innocent and delicious.
On my ride home from depositing the girls at their various locations, I anticipated my morning with my only son, alone. For an all too brief 18 months, I had him all to myself before his sister burst onto the scene. I recall working puzzle after puzzle with him as my belly grew larger and larger, the contents of which would alter his life forever.
Now, 8 years later, here he is. Nearly grown it seems. My memories of those early years frozen in the pictures now at home in my scrapbooks.
If he needs me only today, he knows all of me will be there. And, when he is done, I will still be there, keeping watch, waiting for his call again.