This morning began, as most mornings do, with Tre appearing in the door of my room. He was dressed, bouncing a bit on the balls of his feet, unbelievably awake for such an early hour.
“Mama? I’m going downstairs,” he whispered. I nodded back, and he turned to go.
“Hey, Tre?” He looked over his shoulder. “Good morning.” He grinned.
“Yeah, good morning, Mama.”
And he was gone.
A few minutes later Max and Raphael trotted into my room. They clambered up on the bed. Raphi tucked himself under one arm, and on the other side of me Max curled up on his side, facing away from me. I reached over and scratched his back, and he stretched, relishing the feel. Raphi draped my arm around his side and over his round, soft belly. He patted my face and sighed happily.
“Ah did sleep and sleep! I didn’t even wake up until 11:30!” he exclaimed.
“Really?” He nodded emphatically and kissed my shoulder.
“Yoo are the BEST.”
Max glanced back at me.
“What time did we wake up?” he asked. I consulted my watch.
“Oh. I was tired.”
“Ah am not a baby.” Raphi interjected.
“Right. Sorry.” I replied.
“That’s ok.” He went back to patting my face, then moved to entertaining himself by digging his toes under my thigh. That got old quickly, and I suggested it was time they go get dressed. Raphael agreed and kissed me several more times before leaping up, tromping across my abdomen, and jumping off the bed. Max sighed, stretched, and yawned, but finally pushed himself off the bed and toward the door. He looked back at me and said what he says every morning,
“Well. See ya later, alligator.”
“After a while, crocodile.”
Then, as usual, he blew me a kiss, which I caught, and I blew him one back, which he caught, and he was off.
I lay there for a moment, listening to them make their circuitous route through getting dressed. I remember when Tre was a baby; someone told me how lucky I was to have a son.
“After all,” she said, “girls adore their daddy, but boys always think their mama is the queen.” I thought about my three, how different their affection looks. Tre barely has time to inform me that he’ll be starting his day, thankyouverymuch, but he checks in with more care than I sometimes realize. Max wears a new veneer of casualness, but he leans into my affection like a cat on a sunny windowsill. And Raphael is shameless, wallowing in the love like a puppy.
It’s good to be the queen.