At the end of the story, I close the book and place a kiss on top of her head.
“Time for bed,” I say, and she turns away from me and places her head on her pillow.
“You get your book?” she asks, her code for “stay with me until I fall asleep.”
I tell her I left my book in the car, but that I’ll sit with her until she falls asleep. She wraps her petite fingers around my index finger and pulls it close to her face. Before closing her eyes, she looks into mine and flashes me a huge ear-to-ear smile, clearly thrilled to have me close to her.
My heart soars.
“Good night, Mama,” she says, closing her eyes and stroking her cheek with my finger.
Within minutes, she is asleep. Her chest rises and falls softly.
There is nothing keeping me here in this room now. I could get up any time. Work that I have to do beckons from the other room. There are still dishes to do, a blog post to write, my lunch to make. E-mails to return. Toys to pick up.
But I sit – transfixed – at the edge of her bed. There is no sound other than the slow rhythm of her breathing.
There is only her. And me.
I study her features. The endless lashes. The pink flush of her cheeks. The curls. Her rosebud lips. The blue web of veins that run under porcelain skin. The tiny fingernails. Each part is so miniscule, so perfect.
I continue to sit and watch. Spellbound. Amazed by how someone so small could cause such huge, endless love. And so, so thankful to be the recipient of it.