I finish my evening rounds, putting the cookies back in the highest place, checking locks, turning off lights. My last stop is checking on "the babies", who are not babies anymore.
They're both on the bottom bunk, and I stop for a minute to soak in the achy sweetness of them. She's curled up over her Barbie pillow in her pink swimsuit. My 4 year old sleeps in whatever she wants, because I pick my battles. Toby's laying awake on the other side of the same bunk, because he's boycotted the top bunk until his 6th birthday, for legal reasons.
Usually if he catches me, he'll ask me if I have any fried chicken, or why we can't see wind, or if you could survive hot lava, or when did God start, and I tell him to go to sleep and go Google the answer. But I just felt like lingering for a minute. I crawled into the bunk with him and we laid our heads next to each other, and we talk, his grubby little hands on my arms and his legs resting on my knee.
"Someday," I tell him, "you'll be taller than me, and you'll be a daddy."
"And you'll be a grandma," he says. "But you'll still be my mom. Because even grownups have moms."
"I will always be your mom."
"And I will be your son, and I will still be your baby, because you'll always be older than me."
This son, with his sensitivity and his brilliance and his sweetness. My miracle baby, the one I worked so hard to get... he will always be my baby. So maybe I'll be okay.