He grabs my hand as we head upstairs to see if he put the books on the bookshelf like I asked. He gives me causal a kiss on the back of my hand as we climb the stairs. He's my affectionate child. With all my might I push down the question I have been asking him all year.
"How's your head feeling bud?"
He'd gently touch his scar, flash his mega-watt smile. "It's great!"
I know he's great. I know he's fine. I mean, come on, I was teaching him how to ride his bike without training wheels two days ago. At his urging. If that doesn't say great in the world of a little boy, I don't know what does.
But it doesn't quench my urge to ask him all the time. It doesn't make my tears stop on the occasion that I am hit with a gut-wrenching flashback. Or even today the anniversary of one of the hardest days of my life.
My mom cried tears with me as she sent me the photos she had taken and I had sent her during the span of six days.
"It's ok to cry. It was a near miss and you're just friggin' thankful."
"You'll probably live that trauma for a long time."
Both my best friends knew the words I needed to hear. That it's OK that I am still in this weird place of grieving, but full of joy and eerily fearful.
Because March 26, 2016 I watched as my middle son was airlifted in an emergency helicopter with a piece of metal stuck between his eyes.
If that made your heart stop its OK. Mine stutters every time I think about it too. Because as I watched him fly away I could only rely on the fact that, regardless of how we would find him when we saw him again, his well being was completely out of my hands and into God's.
Now he's cuddled close to me watching one of his beloved (but adultly annoying) kid TV shows urging me to make him oatmeal. A show he can actually watch because his eyes are't swollen shut from the swelling of surgery, instead of turning his head so he can hear his beloved Paw Patrol better. Gone are the moments when he disappears silently into himself as his brain heals. Something his doctors warned us would happen, but is still scary to watch happen.
And to think that this event, in his world, is a minuscule blip in his journey to being great. One that he remembers by his ride in a helicopter. (Seriously we showed him the picture and his eyes lit up as we showed the picture. But he still touched his scar).
I remember it as my son, even at 3 years old showed more kindness, resilience and strength when he himself was hurt and vulnerable, than I ever have in my 30 years. That you are more defined on how you treat others at your worst, than when you are at your best. Everyday he is teaching me that the fear over his accident can subside, because he is moving on, growing up, and laughing and loving the whole way.
So I should go now, he's tugging on my hand because he wants to cook his oatmeal and cranberries, and oh mommy we should have cheesy eggs and waffles with that too. And what about chocolate milk? And he has given me three hugs, two kisses, and told me he loves me.
The kid really knows how to sweeten the deal. We are so blessed!