He was in our bed last night…again. At four feet tall, 54 lbs. and five-and-a-half years old, he isn’t what you would call small. In fact, I have affectionately referred to him as my “Tonka Truck” since his birth. My OB said he would be 7.5 to 8 lbs – instead, he came out “naturally” at 9.5 lbs. Yup, that was a surprise. I said goodbye to every piece of clothing labeled “newborn” right there in the delivery room.
He doesn't come to our bed because he has nightmares. He comes to our bed because he wakes up randomly and he would rather take the middle space in Mommy and Daddy’s bed instead of staying in his own. Of course, there is a certain amount of grumbling, probably more from me than from my husband because he likes to share my pillows. But when I get too grumbly, I take a moment to realize how special it is that he wants to be with us. Soon enough, that will be over.
It also makes me think back to the last week I spent with my mother. She had this horrible cancer – myleodisplastic syndrome (MDS) – a precursor to leukemia. Diagnosed at 67, she wasn’t considered a good candidate for a bone marrow transplant. So, she pushed through the disease with medications and blood transfusions. The doctors gave her five years; she lived only 16 months.
At the end of July 2008, I got a call from my mom because she was having another bone marrow study. A strong woman from beginning to end, she never wanted to say she needed help, but I knew that was the reason for this call. I left work and did not leave her side for the next 48 hours. When I got her home, she crawled into bed and I crawled in next to her. We spoke about where she wanted to travel when she felt better. Ever the musician (she played the piano flawlessly) and the Catholic girl, Vienna and Rome topped the list. Sharing her pillow and talking about the future, I was again her youngest child taking up space in her bed. Two days later she went into the hospital, her MDS having converted to leukemia. She died within the week.
Memorable moments occur when you least expect them. While in bed with me the other morning, staring eye to eye, my son said, “Good morning, Mommy.” With three simple words, he washed away all the complaints poised on my lips. He may not remember this, but I will. And that is enough.