This weekend Ben was needier than usual. He insisted that I stay in his orbit 24/7; even to the bathroom he accompanied me. We took a two-mile walk, stopping along the way to share a sandwich at the playground. Ben’s left hand clutched a straw, his tapping tool; the other hand was reserved for me. We walked and walked, pausing only to open our water bottle. Even then, Ben wouldn’t let go of my hand.
Back at home, Ben jumped on the trampoline. I parked myself in the comfy patio furniture and sat back to enjoy the entertainment. But as soon as Ben saw me, the show was over — he jumped off the trampoline and ran to me.
“Sif me,” he said.
He perched himself on my lap and leaned in close. I should point out that my 5-year-old also loves to cuddle, but just a little is enough for restless Ryan, who will shower me with affection for up to one minute before leaping off my knee in search of his next adventure. Ben, on the other hand, was in no hurry to leave the position he had staked out for himself. And that suited me just fine.
Later that evening we got under the covers and I coaxed Ryan to sleep. Ben was wide awake, patiently waiting his turn. As soon as Ryan fell asleep, Ben maneuvered over to my side of the bed, inching closer and closer until our bodies were nearly inseparable. Moments later he shut his eyes; any signs of anxiety receded. Both boys were out cold!
“Guess that long walk did the trick,” I thought to myself. “Finally I can get some work done.”
But as I tried to sit up, I became acutely aware that Ben was clutching my hand from under the covers. How do you extricate yourself from that? And the better questions: Why would you want to? Are you crazy? That’s when I realized that, paperwork be damned, I wasn’t going anywhere…
…but to sleep.