I can count the times I’ve laid down with my children for their naps as very few. I don’t like to slow down during the day. And I never wanted to have to lay down with my kids to get them to sleep.
But today I kept Nels up until two, way past his nap time. He and his sister have been running around all in a dither about the season’s first snowfall – “Snoooowww!” they chorus together at the window. Michelle and I clean them up from lunch and she settles Sophie in my bed; I take Nels into the kids’ room and hold him, speaking softly. He is too tired to fall asleep easily on his own. I pull him close to me and lay down on the bed together. He is clutching his Madeline doll to his chest; laying on his stomach, breathing softly, sighing. His naked back and shoulders nestle into the soft folds of the first quilt I ever made when Ralph and I were courting, years ago. Watching my son he is all curls and roundness. His cheek forms a ridiculous convex curve, full of sweetness and softness.
I watch his eyelashes flicker. They are reddish-brown and blonde at the base, just like his father’s. They droop, close. Flutter. I stroke his perfect skin. A small mole on the left shoulder blade. Ash-blonde and yellow curls at the nap of his neck. He sinks into sleep.
My golden boy.