Raphael was the first to wake up this morning. I heard his feet hit the floor with a thud, then trot trot trot over to me. He had taken his pajama top off in the night, so he was cold, and he crawled under the covers next to me. He pulled my arms around him and I rubbed his back. Under my hands I felt cold, tight gooseflesh give way to satiny warm skin. He sighed happily and squirmed all over, painting himself with mama-attention.
“I just wanna stay with you for…SIXTY seconds,” he whispered.
“Sixty is my favorite number.”
“Because it’s more than one, and two, and three, and four, and five-“
We have this conversation often. He enumerated the reasons he loves sixty right up to 39, then he drifted off.
“You know,” I said, “sixty seconds is one minute.” He looked at me, startled.
“ONE MINUTE? That’s not enough. I will stay for…FIVE minutes.”
“Five minutes is three hundred seconds,” I said. He sighed wearily, as though I’d informed him the sky was blue.
He grabbed my left hand and fiddled with my engagement ring. He loves my ring, and always wants to hold the hand it’s on so he can surreptitiously spin it on my finger. He’s also forever trying to wiggle it off my finger, like I won’t notice, larceny-boy.
“I’m just going to check your ring RIGHT THERE on your finger, ok, Mama?” he assured me.
“It’s so sparkly.” He kissed the ring. After a moment’s ring-fiddling glee, he flopped over on my torso, offering his back for rubbing. I complied, tracing circles on his sturdy brown skin. He wriggled and sighed with contentment.
All was right in the world, until the cat walked by and he slid out of bed and trotted off, determined to demonstrate his love. The cat ran away and my arms were left conspicuously empty.