Just One More Story


Read me another story, Mommy.” he says as he leans his tousled five-year old head against my shoulder. I rub my cheek against his hair, inhaling. He smells of the sandbox and play dough and needing a bath. “All right, just one more story,” I reply. He hands me a book and I start to read. Against me I can feel his warm weight on my chest and in my lap. The house is hushed, just the two of us, and he rests his hand on mine in a sign of intimacy that I find with this boy who grew under my heart- who I pushed from my body in labor, who I nursed and cuddled and carried. We have the kind of connection that is found after a thousand sleepless nights, countless doctor’s visits, and endless trips to the park. Not every day do I say yes – some days we have to go somewhere; some days I am tired; some days I just want to get one more thing done from my seemingly endless list of chores.

So tonight we read one more story. The clock ticks softly and the sun streams in through the window. Time stops and we live in the words of a book we must have read a hundred times before. The next day, we go to the library for story time and to return our books. He strides in with five-year old confidence, helping me put the books into the return slot and then walks ahead of me to the story room to sit down. I sit down too, closer than usual, and beckon him to sit on my lap. Smiling, he shakes his head and turns his attention to the librarian. He laughs and claps his hands, listening raptly.

I marvel at him, my brave and beautiful boy -the one who can speed-draw a mask on his face with one sharpie marker when I turn my back to put something in the refrigerator; who can happily listen to a single favorite CD ten million times just a little too loudly while he plays with Legos; who rocks with a contented wiggle when he eats his dessert. Daily, he shows up at my bedside in the wee hours of the morning, the sun struggling to meet the horizon, already dressed for the day in snorkel goggles and superhero capes. This boy, whom I love with my whole being, is a piece of my heart walking around outside my body.

Today is our last story time, the last one before summer officially comes to a close next week. In only a few days, he will stride confidently into Kindergarten, where he will have story time with his class. We won’t come to library story time anymore. And in school he will learn to read to himself and won’t need me to read to him. This really is the last story. My heart begins to ache and my eyes fill with tears. He is so ready, and to be honest, so am I. We have grown well together and this is the next good, big step. But my heart swells with sweet sadness at the passage of time – baby, toddler, preschooler and now kindergartner.

The librarian starts the last book. I think to myself wistfully, “Just one more story.” And then it is over. His face swivels to look for me, smiling. Standing up, he reaches for one of the books the librarian did not read, and backs up to me, plopping into my lap. “Will you read me one more story?” he asks. He leans into me, today smelling of watermelon shampoo and graham crackers. The words are blurry through my tears and a lump rises in my throat. “Mommy, read!” he says, oblivious to my silent weeping. “Okay, okay” I whisper. “One more.”

I squeeze him tight as we turn the pages, the two of us, lost in the words together, reading just one more story.


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