He is too cute for words, but I suppose most mothers say that about their sons.
I could say oh so much about him.
Mr. C. and I talk about him with love and adoration, exasperation, and...with great fondness.
I love him.
Tonight gave me a little window into his boy heart that I love so much.
It was kind of an off Sunday. Mr. C. and Benji weren't feeling well, so the rest of us headed to church without them.
When we came home, Mr. C. and I alternated naps. I lit a fire, he maintained it when I went to sleep. When I got up, it was still stormy out, the sky gray, and the wind teasing the pampas grass outside. The world was wet.
After scavenging for leftovers, we were eating at the table. The boys started talking about their preschool days, and things that had happened.
Then, Benji came out with this.
"There's something I never told you that I did then that I regret now because I know it wasn't right."
I was curious. I was expecting something along the lines of sneaking something or doing something he had been told not to do, or taking something that wasn't his or....you know, those sorts of things.
But what came out of his mouth was classic.
It went something like this.
"Well, I would tell my teacher that I had to go to the bathroom, and you know how I'd sneak my baby (insert Mr. Bear, his favorite small stuffed animal, pal and companion through thick and thin, even in family portraits, formal and informal -- see below) in my backpack and it would be out in the hall in that thing?" (a locker)
(hard to see here, but he's clutched in his right hand)
"Well, I'd tell her I needed to go to the bathroom, and I'd go out in the hall and get my baby and get in that thing (the locker) and shut it and just sit there and snuggle him for a few minutes. Then I'd go back in and my teacher would say, 'You okay?' and I'd say, 'Ya.'"
And that was it.
I told him I didn't think that was wrong, but if he'd been doing some graffiti or taking something or damaging property, etc. -- that wouldn't be okay.
But it was one of the highlights of my day because it says so much about him.
He has a tender heart.
He shows -- and isn't afraid -- his vulnerability and need for comfort and connectedness. He goes with him to church, in the car, to bed, to breakfast, as a buddy in school, outside....basically, he takes him everywhere, and has since he was tiny. He doesn't seem to care one bit that others might find it funny to have such a friend in a little stuffed companion.
But the other part of it?
I found this young-in-mothering heart of mine thinking oh...if only. If only the regrets in his heart in 15 years amount to relatively equal categories of "benign."
But for the meantime, I'll take it.
And do you notice Mr. Bear in all these photos? I have soooo many photos with this gentle friend, including one of Benji snuggling him, while snuggling with my dad, the day before he died.
I think we all need gentle friends.
They make the going a little bit easier.