During a thunderstorm last night, Matthew, my seven-year-old, came into my room and said, "I'm so scared I could cry." I said to come up and he flew into bed where I was reading.
He said, "Tell me a happy story. Tell me about your honeymoon."
I told him about Copper Harbor, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in February. A story he knows well.
After a while he said, "I wonder where I will go on my honeymoon."
We both watched the ceiling fan. I rested my open book on my chest and said, "It might depend on who you marry."
He said, "Maybe Australia. That's a really big island."
"Also it's a continent."
"I know," he said. "Or Pennsylvania. They've got a lot of interesting things to do there. Like that bell with the crack."
"The Liberty Bell."
"And the lady who sewed the American flag. She has a house there."
Matthew's first grade teacher, Ms. Allen, was from Pennsylvania. A great deal in his life last school year revolved around what Ms. Allen said.
"Or Hollywood. New York City. Are people allowed to go through the Great Wall of China?"
I wondered how to answer the "through" part of that question.
"What kind of girl do you think you might marry?" I asked, moving on.
"Pretty and cool, kind of like you because you love Daddy so much."
When the rain stopped and when he knew the time was coming for him to go back to his own room, Matthew said, "Your bed is so nice."
I remember thinking the same of my parents' bed.
"And I'm so tired," he added in case I wasn't catching his drift.
I don't usually let either of my boys sleep in our bed. I said, "Should you fall asleep here and Daddy can carry you into your room later?"
He smiled in that way children do at night, when they're cozy and happy and feeling sentimental. "Yes," he whispered because he got his way and didn't want to break the spell.
He nestled next to me, warm and damp, locking me in so that it was impossible to lift my book or turn off the light, or do anything but lie beside him.
Weezie Kerr Mackey
Causes Mylene Dressler Supports
The Women's Media Center