This morning, while the bedroom windows still flowed in twilight, he came. Though my back was to the door, I heard his familiar steps padding across the floor. In a moment he stood in front of me, his belly button level with my head on the pillow.

Wordlessly, he climbed in beside me and shifted for a moment till he found his spot. I was still in a sleep fog but I slid one eye open. When had this child gotten so long? He was strong and yet still soft, his sweet cheek inches from my nose and his legs draped over mine. I could tell from his breathing he was awake, but he leaned in and soaked me up, his arm curled around my head.

We laid like that for longer than I thought it would last. Then, finally, he rolled out of the bed. “Thank you,” he murmured, eyes mostly closed. My heart wrenched. His heart was so pure.

“I love you,” I whispered back, as only a mother can. “Love you too,” came the hushed reply as his back faded from my drowsy, lidded view.

He is getting bigger. They warned me it would happen. But I can tell if we keep loving him well, he will be both steel and velvet.

It is one of the great honors of my life, to witness his rising.

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