It had been a rough week around here between me and the 9 year old.
My husband had been traveling a lot and work had been stressful.
Henry and I had butted heads, talked back to each other, and raised our voices way too many times.
It wasn’t pretty, y’all.
I’m ashamed to say, I had yelled more than I should.
I’m sad that Henry had said “I hate you” more than he ever should. I know he didn’t mean it, but he said it.
He had already gone a few days without riding his bike to school as punishment for previous transgressions and at that moment, I may or may not have threatened to make him wash all of his clothes, cook his own food and pay his own rent for the rest of his life if he didn’t shape up.
Maybe I meant it. Maybe I didn’t??
Jason had to be made out to be the bad guy, the one I threatened to call so he could “handle it” and he’s the one who actually got to handle it when he got home.
I don’t like that I had to stoop to that because my GOSH I hated it when my mom used to threaten to tell my Daddy when he got home what I had done wrong.
So imagine my surprise when I was doing JUST THAT?
Finally, I had to make good on an earlier threat and put Henry to bed early — and without supper! I mean, it was like 6:30 early. But it had to be done or I was just a pushover.
I sat with him and we talked about a magazine he had been reading and school and how he was going to respect me more. We were both mad and frustrated and insanely tired.
Then he started crying a little and asked me to stay while he tried to go to sleep. He rolled over and guided my hand over his heart — covered it with his own small hand — and he pressed it to his chest as hard as he could.
His other hand held on to his beloved Muffins like his life depended on it.
I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed with love. There’s a pretty good reason why that’s my Henry’s middle name.
I laid there for 45 minutes with his heart beating perfectly in my hand. t felt like I could just reach in and grab it if I wanted to.
My brain told me this was one of those “Mom moments” I needed to hold on to.
So I stayed there, watching him doze off into dreamland, eyes twitching and mouth moving slightly — in awe that I was chosen to be his mom.
As I held his heart in my hand, I also realized how much like his brother he seems, and how much alike I think they would be if Charlie was alive.
But comparing a 9 year old to a baby who should be 11 but will always be 24 days old?? That’s ridiculous.
When Henry sleeps, though, even at 9 years old, it’s so clear to me that they have the same skin and eyes and that funny droop on one side of their mouth.
It’s very rare these days that I stop and think, “What would life be like if Charlie and Henry were growing up together?”
I think I don’t allow myself to think these things because honestly, it hurts to imagine it.
But then there are moments like these.
Moments when I am reminded how much they look alike and how I’m sure their personalities WOULD BE not necessarily the same, but complimentary to each others.
There are these moments, as a mother, that take my breath away.
It’s moments like these when I really remember that I have two sons and am forever mothering two sons.
One is here and one isn’t.
One has a heartbeat I can feel and one whose last heartbeat I felt in my arms.
One says things that break my heart and the other I carry in my heart.
One can wrap his small hand around mine, hold it to his heart, and make me realize that my life is complete because I am the mother of two.