The sound sleep hums its siren song, waves crashing in a cadence and rhythm I hope will put my youngest son to sleep. Zach slides into his bed, and asks me to sing him “his song.” In my hackneyed way I comply, ending with his favorite verse, the one where Mommy, Daddy and Justin love him best. He is momentarily silent, and I adjust his blankets to more tightly cocoon him. He rolls over, looks up at me and asks “How do you know Justin loves me- he doesn’t say it.”
My heart clutches. I want to say “baby, I know he does with my mother’s heart, I know.” But he is almost eight now, requires facts to back up most of my declarations (particularly the ones surrounding the efficacy of homework.) He will want proof.
And I have it in spades.
I tell him I’ll spin him a tale of brotherly love. A tale of how almost every time he cried as a baby his big brother would bring me the toy baby’s bottle to cease his distress. I’ll tell him how Justin loved to sit in Zach’s crib with him, would at times briefly hold his hand and squeeze it tightly. I’ll share with him that he is the only child whom Justin has ever let share his toys without protest. I’ll recall for him how my eldest son, who allows only an elite few into his inner circle of touch, welcomes my youngest son’s embraces. Sometimes, he even hugs him back. I’ll tell him that after a long absence Justin’s face lights up when Zach enters a room.
I’ll explain to him that love doesn’t always require words.
He rolls over again with an “okay mom,” settles into the niche he’s created in his bed. I smile as I quietly leave the room, comforted that I can give him this. There is so much uncertainty in our world, but this I know for sure.
My eldest son loves his younger brother.
He doesn’t need to say it out loud.
The love is just there for the taking. And it’s a beautiful thing indeed.
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