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His hands drummed my shoulder blades as we swayed in the kitchen…

…legs struggled to cling and circle like a koala bear. Instead, they slipped and dangled, finally hanging around my knees.

I reached up to smooth his mop, rubbing my cheek against the perfect skin of his nape, feeling his little-boy-ness as my arms squeezed his ribs and yearned for the years to melt away; for his three year-old voice to return and his kisses to be small and sloppy.

Could he really be so big? Nearly too heavy to dance in my arms now?

These days wane, and the weight of their expiration seems palatable on sweet, quiet afternoons like this. My little one, my baby, the last to thrust his own life from my body, is sprouting and blooming in ways that have removed him solidly from being “little.”

***

My mind goes to another time that lies far ahead, or so it seems. A time when those hands will caress different shoulders and when his cheeks will brush those of his bride. The night will be glowing in candlelight and the crowd will hush to see the groom reach for his beloved.

And perhaps, after they celebrate their love, new and fresh on the dancefloor, perhaps he’ll reach for me. He’ll ask his mama for one more dance. And I’ll find this song again and whisper in his ears, “Do you remember this, son? Do you remember listening to this when you were young? We used to dance together in the kitchen.”

And I’ll feel the skin on his neck and breathe him in. And the music will remind me of that day in March when the snow was new and the sky peeked blue between winter clouds.

***

I snap back to the present and will myself to stay in the moment. I tell myself not to forget anything.

And then I swallow hard and turn on another song … so we won’t have to stop.

Not quite yet.

Girl Meets Paper, Jane Graham

Three years and a million memories ago…