We welcomed Valentine's Day by huddling together in the bathroom and later, on the beanbag under the loft bed that E was too sick and weak and tired to climb into after hours and hours of throwing up in the middle of the night. He was upset he'd miss the holiday at school. And for a moment, I wondered if he'd be OK to make it, at least long enough to pass out his cards and collect CandyGrams and pretend like he hadn't spent the night heaving into a trash can or toilet. But, of course, he wouldn't be. Even if he was miraculously healed up by 8 a.m., he'd be exhausted. There was no way. There was just no way.
I felt his pain, both in being so violently and suddenly sick and in the loss of missing out on the day with his friends. Skipping Valentine's Day at school was a small thing, of course, but is one of the few holidays celebrated in his class and really the only exception his teacher allows to a wonderful, necessary healthy-child initiative enacted in the school. Plus, I really get why the boy hates to miss a party. I hate to miss a party. Even when I'm ill.
Hours before the boy started puking, I laid out a Valentine celebration of our own with obligatory Hershey Kisses scattered across the counter and for E, a basket of red undies and socks, a stuffed Minecraft animal thingy I won't pretend to understand, a Lego guy pen and cards that play silly music that we will press over and over and over again until Fourth of July. For the Not Boyfriend, a Vanity Fair, fancy salted dark chocolate he'd have to share with me, and of course, his own singing card.
I did Valentine's Day the way my mom did, down to the red celebratory chonies. And E loved all the little gifts and, feeling better, danced around along with the open-wide cards.
But a moment flashed over him.
"Oh no," he said, concerned. "I didn't get you and the NB anything."
"You got cards!" I replied cheerfully. What was he worried he should get?
"But little gifts! I didn't get any for you." This is my boy, observant, concerned.
"It's not your job," I explained, kissing his sweaty forehead. "It's my pleasure. It's what I do as a mama. You got your great cards and you can share the chocolate and give out hugs!"
He seemed satisfied, but that conversation preceded the puking and was long forgotten by the time his Valentine celebration happened at the kitchen counter rather than the classroom.
What was waiting for me was a card E left out with the others. It was one he picked out when we were together, so it wasn't a big surprise. Still, it made me laugh and (yes, clearly) dance in my chair in between sips of coffee and stolen Kisses. He knew the card I chose for him, too, so we were even and still equally pretend-surprised to tear open the big red, stuffed-full envelopes.
And here is what was on mine (peek at the picture above): THE BRRST MOM EVVR! with a picture of me in the center of a curly-q'd MOM.
Well, yes. You will read that BRRST MOM as "breast mom" because it's strange and silly in the way only a nine-year old can delight in being. But this one time, it actually has nothing to do with my bosom and everything to do with Usher.
Uh-hmm. Usher. Or URRSHRRR, as E calls him after admiring/imitating him for a whole season and then some (lots of some) of The Voice.
Urrshrr has made such an impact on my kid that the R-insertion has become a part of his daily (perhaps hourly) third-grrde lexicon. As evidenced by the envelope. Which I can assure you is a compliment of the highest kid-level, well beyond saying I am the best half of this parenting of all time. I mean, evvr.
Oh, and I can't possibly forget the posing. Urrshrr has melded my son into such a seat-poser that my iPhone camera roll is packed full of him sitting just as he might in the big red judge's seat on The Voice. That pose is an obligatory three- to four-photo journey before any other candid or smiling snapshot. I krrd you not.
See what I mean?
Usher is here. E, on an alligator swamp tour boat, is here.
Urrshrr is the best, if not at singing/producing/making ladies swoon, then at brrnd development aimed at the next-gen audience of consumers/kids consumed with cool. My kid buys it all, if not just in jest then also in practice for awkwrrd teen yrrs.
For now, I am the lucky, loved recipient of the Urrshrr kind of heartbeat from my boy. And the laugh I got in seeing that envelope, the wrrting and the big, red mama lips poised for a totally embarrasing Valentine smooch, filled me up.
In the night, he'd clung to me like the baby boy tucked away in years-old blog posts and a half-finished baby book. Right there, in the kitchen, he handed me the man he is slow-stepping toward, one silly, impersonating, caricature, cool-ish pose at a time. For now, for this Valentine's Day, I'll take the kid in the middle, please. The one who is a big kid with both baby and grown-man tendencies, the one who loves a funny little gift and worries that he's giving enough, the one who thinks for this moment in time, I am the brrst mom evvr.