The oversized cushy chocolate chair in Tyler’s room is one of the best seats in our house. Plus, it’s where my favorite part of the day takes place. Bedtime stories.
Every night, rain or shine, in sickness and in health, early or late or right on time, there’s a bedtime story (or two or three or four) going on in that chair. And every night, Tyler sits in the middle of his nursing pillow with his back against my chest, his little round head on my heart and his PJ’d-feet up and over the Boppy. In Tyler’s lap, a tiny stuffed Tigger waits for the stories to begin. Every night.
While I adjust the stack of board books on the desk to my left with my uncoordinated arm, Tyler flings Tigger around by his foot, or his paw, or his skinny striped S-shaped tail. Sometimes he stuffs Tigger’s entire head right in his mouth. Tigger’s a trooper.
This particular night was no different. Except for one thing.
As I prepared the books, I realized the typical toy-flailing seemed intentional. Tigger wasn’t haphazardly bouncing off of my lips, the bumping was being repeated on purpose.
I looked at Tyler who had screwed his neck to the side and tilted his face up to gaze at me with grinning black eyes; his arm outstretched holding his favorite stuffed animal in place. I pursed my lips, noisily sucked in air and delivered a loud, smacking kiss right on little Tigger’s fuzzy red nose. But, my eyes never left Tyler. I wanted to remember his reaction.
It was a smile, of course, but not an ear-to-ear grin or an open-mouthed laugh. It started in the middle of his mouth, then the corners slowly stretched outward and up into something so sweet and special, I’m not sure I can capture it here. Even his eyes twinkled. A magical moment between mother and son. But, then he abruptly turned to wait for his story, and poor Tigger’s face fell victim to two tiny baby teeth.
I’m taking that moment out now and letting myself linger on it. Tyler is sick with croup and happy faces aren’t coming to him as easily. “I miss his smile,” Mr. S said yesterday after a long and stressful morning at the doctor’s office.
I do, too. Luckily, I’ve got a little magic stored away.