He bounds through the front door in all his little boy clatter. I'm in the kitchen and peek up from what I'm doing at the counter to see him tip toeing around the corner. He is still in his outdoor shoes. He watches me with a look of sheepishness.
I bite silent the words that are always on the inside corners of my mouth...take your shoes off at the front door....(after all, the sheepish tiptoeing? Very cute.) and instead say, "What's up bud?"
"Mumma? Can I please have some juice?"
"Of-course." I pour the juice and he takes the bright plastic cup from my hands with a thank you. I follow him towards the front door where he's eager to get back outside and rejoin his friends.
It opens before we get there and his buddies are on the other side waiting. The cacophony of their child chatter and warm air collide with the cool silence of the house.
He stands just behind the open door so that only I can see him.
He cups his hand around around his little boy lips and mouths the 3 most precious words on earth...unprompted, impulsive and entirely him.
In that moment I realized just how fast the years go by.
What's a Mom to do but silently whisper the words in return?
"I love you too."
Then off he went out the door, a whirling vortex of sunshine, love and boyhood.
As I closed the door against the heat of the day, holding close the brief lovely moment, echoes of bittersweetness reverberate loudly within the quiet walls of our home.