Noah and I faced off today in JoAnn Fabrics.
He was INSISTENT that there were "Ben 10 rings," whatever those might be, on the opposite side of the store. I was there strictly to buy fabric. As I am not crafty, and this is only my second time in this store EVER, I already felt like an outsider trying to blend.
Now, I was an outsider with a misbehaved little boy tugging on my arm and hollering, "We ARE going this way!"
I gently let go of his hand, turned the other way, and said calmly (and in front of about nine strangers), "Okay, fine. You go that way. I'm going this way." I pretended to start walking as my heart thundered in my chest and my pulse roared in my ears.
"Wait!" he cried out. Thank God.
"Yes, honey?" I asked. He hesitated. So did I.
"You...you have to come with me." He paused, then added quite deliberately, "Right now."
"Oh, that's okay," I said casually, starting to walk again. "You go on ahead. Someone will probably take you because you're so awfully cute...and good...but that's okay. See you 'round."
It was not even three seconds until his little hand was clasped firmly in mine and he said, "I need you close to me. I'll just stay with you."
A woman nearby looked at us both in shock, her mouth hanging open. Then she just started to laugh.
Because really, with Noah, it's all you can do.