It was a long night. Lil E, still recovering from an unknown virus that came and went with fever and vomitting all week, slept fitfully. I sang him back to sleep four times throughout the course of 8 hours. He woke up at 6 a.m., then again at 7. I told him to read for an hour. I felt like I'd only napped all night.
A little after 8, he crept into my room and slid this white-board next on to my pillow. He whisper-asked if he could watch TV and slid out again.
I could barely read it, my glasses on the nightstand and my eyes heavy. But I saw the words "love" and "pritty" and silly" just before I fell back asleep clutching it and smearing the word "fun" with my fingers.
"She rock-s!" he scribbled in pink.
All of it will fade soon enough. But he used the word "happy" to describe us. "Happy" after a long month of stress and inadvertent weight-loss and worry wrinkling in between my eyebrows. "Happy" after being up most of the night and being home most of the week and a virus that germy-ed up our home. "Happy" after things have changed around here in ways I can't yet fully explain so that we will be living more simply, so that the stress will be swept out slowly and methodically.
The note ends with lines of Xs and Os, as we always end our letters and post-its and phone calls to each other. But I hope those stay there along with the happy-us, the dry -rase marker imprinting the wish for the words to stay long after the rest has been wiped from the board.
Happy Mommy. Happy Boy. Through tired eyes and swells of stress, that's what I want to see most.