I look to my right from where I stand doing the dishes and his sleepy-sweet six year old face peers back between wooden spindles. "Mommy, lay with me?"
"Baby, I can't right now but I will. Your brother's birthday cake in in the oven and will be ready in ten minutes. I promise I'll come up then." Promises are meant to be kept. He knows that but he shakes his head.
"Can I help you?" He wants to help me do the dishes. My first thought was no. I'll get them done a lot faster on my own. But that voice in the back of my head pushed out another answer.
"You sure can." I place all the unbreakable dishes - God knows my eldest has his father's inherent lovable clumsiness - on a dish towel and hand him another. "You can help me dry."
I washed and he dried - quite thoroughly, I was impressed - in complete silence except for one question, "Mommy do you know Jacob in grade 3?" A daily question since I started working at the school which usually leads to no other conversation except that he is just curious. Sometimes he'll tell me it's so and so's brother or sister but mostly he just wants to know if I know.
I don't know who Jacob is and so we continue our chore while music plays in the background and the delicious smell of baked cake fills the air.
It was that pocket of a moment that you wish you could just sit in with your child forever. Pure serene loveliness. And then the dishes were done. Five minutes remained on the oven timer for the cake. The music played on. He looked up at me, "Mommy, can you come lay with me now?"
"Sweetie there are still 5 minutes left for the cake." I paused. "Do you want to dance with me?"
In the soft light beckoning from the kitchen onto our dance floor, we danced in our pajamas, my six year old son and I. He twirled and dipped me (ever so slightly) and I him. We danced until the song was over and it was time for the cake to come out of the oven.
Up we went and I tucked him into his bed and laid down beside him, the sounds of his little brother's sound asleep breaths coming from the bunk above.
Within minutes his breaths matched those of his brother's and I kissed him and my baby, who was going to have his fifth birthday party the next day, their last kiss until morning. The insurmountable Mother-Love feeling overcame my heart as I gave one last glance back before leaving their room.