In the middle of my tome, I heard long, low keening sobs from my son's room. I quickly responded. He was sitting on the floor with a baby picture book in his hands, tears dripping on the hardwoods.
"What's the matter, John?" I enveloped him in my arms.
"I can't find that picture! It is gone."
"Are you sure it is in this book?" I grabbed another off of the shelf. "Which one are you looking for?"
"It had you, me, and Daddy. I was a baby. It had flowers all around it."
I knew the one he was talking about. I found it in one of the books, and he admitted that was it, but he wanted the flower frame surrounding it - the one from my good friend Mellificent. The one that disappeared from his dresser during the massive house overhaul last month. It was probably in a box in the attic. Shit. John spoke my thoughts aloud.
"Is it in a box in the attic? Will we find it in the new house?"
I pulled John toward the bottom bunk to snuggle with him. "Yes, it is probably in the attic. We don't have to wait to find it in the new house, we can find it sooner. But not tonight. It is dark and hot in the attic, and I don't want to look for it now."
"Because there are squirrels and bats up there?"
"No, those are all outside. It's just hot."
His tears subsided, and he had another question.
"Could I breathe? When I was a baby? In that bag of water. Could I?"
I was shocked. We really haven't had the baby talk, he just turned five, and I couldn't imagine where he had heard about the amniotic sac. "Do you remember being in that bag of water, John?"
He answered slowly. "Uhhh Hunhhh. I remember. Could I breathe?"
"Well, you didn't really breathe like you do now, but you didn't have to. I was breathing for you. Then you came out, and we spent two months in my bed - you ate and ate and got so big. Do you remember that?"
By now he had relaxed into my arms, but he got new tears. "I want to be a baby again."
I pulled him closer. "Oh, John, you will always be my baby. Always."
A few minutes later his breathing slowed and became even. He was asleep. I marveled and wondered if he really remembered being in my stomach. I don't remember being in my mother's stomach. I remember John in my stomach - he was opposite his sister - awake and swimming like a fish all night and asleep all day. When he got too big to swim around he would just stretch and push until I gave up my own sleep and hit the tub at 2:00 a.m. to try to relax. It's no wonder, in retrospect, that he had so much trouble giving up the nighttime nursing - he was up three times a night until I finally let him cry it out at eight months.
New mission: Compose another e-mail to DC. Find that picture.