January 18, 2012
I hear his belly-deep chuckle as I’m clearing dishes from the table, a sound I haven’t been graced with in weeks. I dump dirty dishes on the counter-top and walk quickly to the living room, where I see my eldest boy, cocooned in blankets on the couch. He is laughing out loud at the same segment of a video on his DVD player that he hasn’t seen in ages, one that was once a favorite. He looks up at me to share his joy, another act I haven’t seen since before his illness almost a month prior. His eyes leave mine, return riveted by the children playing Simon Says on the small rectangular screen.
I come closer to the couch and he smiles at me again, a clear and concise invitation. I sidle into his now considerable bulk, and wrap the blanket around me so we are tangled up together. Justin rests his head on my shoulder and squeezes my knee, the tactile tricks he uses to communicate his excitement that I’m sharing the experience with him. I place my arms around him and hug him with all my might, then graze his slightly flushed cheek with multiple kisses.
Briefly, thoughts of our recent trials together fall away. Episodes of his increased, and at times desperate need for order, disappear. Memories of the fierce pinching that conjure up his toddlerhood fall away. The bouts of sobbing with no apparent antecedent, the most difficult symptom for me to bear, are momentarily forgotten. He’s truly present. He’s happy. We’re together, having a simple mother-son moment.
And I relax, a reflex I’m still trying so hard to relearn, and simply revel in him.