Then there are the conversations that fall somewhere in between those two extremes: there is the silliness of a young child mixed with the love and depth that is visible when they’re sleepily, transparently, just being who they are. A couple weeks back, I had a conversation like this with Joshua.
What follows are the words I wrote down immediately after he fell asleep that night. I should write down conversations more often. I always think I’ll remember them but never do, unless I take the time to write them down in the moment.
I'm getting Josh changed into his pajamas, and as I unbutton his blue, plaid shirt, I 'm telling him how much I love him. "What would I do without you, my little man? What would I do without my Josh?" I don’t expect an answer.
His voice is quiet, almost absent-minded. "You'd have to get a new Josh, I guess."
I smile. He’s a good problem solver. "But there's only one YOU. There's only one Josh. I could never replace you, Joshua James Galotti."
He thinks about this for a few moments. "Well, then I will never leave you, Mommy. I will stay with you forever.”
His big green eyes look into my own, and the usual playfulness is replaced with earnestness. "But, if I do have to leave you then I will give you my new pet stuffy." To demonstrate his sincerity, he holds up his new little stuffed animal, a black puppy that, upon receiving the day before from his Aunt Nat and Aunt Caiah, he promptly named Jakson in honor of one of his cousins.
"And Mommy," he continues, his words increasingly solemn, "This pet stuffy has superpowers and will protect you. He blows orange and blue fire out of his mouth and will keep you safe if I'm gone."
“Thank you, my sweet, fierce boy. I love you.”