I snuggled against the pillows in my big sleigh bed and opened my book. A Sunday afternoon nap would have been nice but sleep would not come. Within an hour I heard the first quiet raindrops - scouting, reaching down to test us out, where we sat on that hill - deciding whether to call down the storm or move past to a choicer location. Thunder cracked like a cannon once and loud. The decision was made.
I heard the baby start to cry upstairs. He has become nervous about rainstorms, particularly in the car where even a sprinkling results in insistence that someone hold his hand as we drive along.
He'd not gotten his nap out so I waited to see if he'd fall back asleep. He didn't.
The rain was coming down slant-wise now and forceful against the bedroom window. He was crying again, the scared cry, and I hate that one in particular. I got up and went swiftly to his room and he reached for me with his face wet and deep-grooved with his little fear, eyes red and frightened. I picked him up easily, he wrapped his sturdy body around my thin one, and I moved again swiftly back down the hall, my desire to comfort him making him seem light and easy, as opposed to his usual bowling ball heft.
He kept sobbing even still, with his sleep-damp head on my shoulder, all the way back to the big sleigh bed. He cried open-mouthed and shut-eyed as I tucked him in and crawled in beside him, curling myself and pulling him into the 'c' of my body, all the time whispering in his ear it's okay, Mommy has you, it's only rain, just a little rain, God has to water the plants and trees you know, it's okay, Mommy has you sweet M...
He quieted. I brushed hair from his warm forehead and then settled still, closing my eyes so that he would close his too. After a minute, I peeked. His baby face, so soft and fresh, was relaxed again, eyes closed, breathing steady and slow.
He is a boy and in quick-quick time a man will materialize, stretching and stepping slowly upwards and outwards with each passing season. He will be twice my size, if current growth patterns are any indicator, and strong and smart and capable. And utterly unafraid of Sunday afternoon rainstorms.
This small Sunday he fits in the curve of me. He is unafraid now. Safe. I am a strong and sure thing of which there is no doubt. This illusion I relish, and I am willing to suspend my own doubt, my aged knowing, allowing his complete belief in my special powers to make it absolutely so.
It is one of the multitude of bittersweet things about these children; understanding that in our ability and their need, this humbling empowerment they so fully bestow is fleeting and fragile.