They’d been working hard with the promise that if they finished everything before Daddy got home then I’d buy the new Sofia the First soundtrack. They were getting close to their goal and the excitement was infectious. We were all working frantically and we even cheered when the last toy was put away. The big two crowded around me, waiting for those first notes. We turned it up as loud as it would go and we all began to sing along.
When it moved to the second track, I reminded Carter to go to his room and get his things together for his overnight lock-in at church. The girls and I danced along to words that step beyond come-save-me-prince-charming princess lyrics. “I can do anything…You can be anything…And I know with you by my side it’ll be a better ride…”
As we swished and swayed around the room I looked over to see him in my chair, half covered with his pillow and a bag of Cheese-Its. Holding my hand out, he shook his head no. No, he didn’t want to dance. I never missed a beat, but my heart missed a few.
See, he’s always been the first to swirl around with me. He’s always been the one who laughed when I tried very unsuccessfully to tango. He’s always been the one who joined right in. And now…he’s not. I could almost see it on his face, this struggle between boy and man:
I love this episode!
Yeah, but she’s a princess. Boys don’t like princess stuff.
But this song. It’s one of my favorites.
Really? Sounds kinda girly to me.
Maybe just one dance with my mom.
And it was there that the little boy won. He took my hand and we swayed a bit. Then he cried “Up! Up!” like he did as a little baby, and I perched his too long legs on my hips and danced and danced. His head resting on my shoulder, I squeezed a little tighter than I should have and tears prickled in my eyes. He sang and I swirled, arms aching with his full weight upon them. I wished the song to go on just a little longer and couldn’t help it when a few tears spilled over. Biting my lip, I set him down and turned my face away.
Brushing away bittersweet tears, my heart ‘swole’ up and my mind flushed with thoughts of now and then and later. A baby in my arms, not quite normal but perfect none-the-less. A toddler rattling off big words with a little boy sound. A boy stretching out towards double digits, but still cuddling with his Mama. But as I began to think of what is to come, I had to force a stop. Instead of looking forward, I soaked up every ounce of now that I could and tucked it away. A day may come when I need this moment again: when my big little boy danced with me for the last time in the living room.