Since I've been pregnant, bedtime has gone from a military sort of affair to a chaotic one. The larger I grow, the harder it is for me to crouch down with Noah or keep up with Joey. For the most part, I think both boys mean to be considerate and helpful, but let's face it. They're two little boys who have a thousand, no, make that a million times more energy and agility than I do right now. I'm pretty sure they look at me and see the lamest, most stick-in-the-mud mom ever. And poor Joey. When I'm stuck on the floor like a turtle on its back, he's usually the one who has to help shove me up in the air. UNPLEASANT, I'm sure.
But sometimes things do go just right, like the other night while Joey showered and Noah, all fresh and clean and smelling delicious, snuggled up to my side in my bed, leaned against me, and said, "Momma? Can we do stories tonight?"
I love when he calls me Momma, because it's become rare. It's usually Mom, with an occasional Mommy. I also love "doing stories," though it's something my husband started and that he is more likely to get to do. Noah assumes we all have our roles, and he doesn't much like us to be outside of them. So if Daddy came up with "doing stories," it's Daddy who must be the one to do them. But every once in awhile, I get lucky.
"Sure," I said. "Should it be a 'Once upon a time?'"
Noah thought about this. "No," he said. His face turned up to mine with a huge glowing smile. "I like the one about how you met Daddy."
Noah is my little romantic. When watching Disney movies, he makes everyone be quiet for the "love part."
I smiled at him. "Okay," I said. "Should I start, or do you want to?"
"You tell it."
"Okay. A long, long time ago, when Mommy was just a young girl, only fourteen years old, she went to a dance at a school called Canisius High School."
"Mommy?" Noah interrupted.
"Can we skip this part?"
"Well, what part do you want to hear?"
"What's the first thing Dad ever said to you?"
And somehow, the way his voice became all mystified and whispery, I knew Joe had never actually included that in his own telling of our story. In fact, I realized it was something I hadn't thought about in quite a long time. So long that I didn't immediately remember the answer.
What was the first thing Joe Bielecki ever said to me? And then, it hit me. As the memory flooded into my mind, I found myself grinning as my eyes watered.
I looked down at our little boy, so like us both.
"The first thing Daddy ever said to me was, 'You're short.'"
Noah's eyes widened as this sank in. And then, he opened his mouth wide with a hoot of laughter, flopping over backwards into the pillows and clutching his tiny belly.
"He said that?" he gasped out. "'You're short!'" And then exploded into more giggles.
Yup. Sometimes it doesn't take much to fill your heart with joy and love.