In the car on a crowded highway in the dark a small voice sings off key.

It’s the song I have sung to him almost every day of his four and a half years. The song I have sung till I am tired of the melody and the words have lost all meaning. The song that evokes 3am trips to the ER or hours of pacing and waiting out an upset stomach or stubborn fever.

It’s his song. And tonight he is singing it back to me.

I try not to breathe so that I don’t miss a single word. Slowly he weaves his favorite parts of my mothering into the familiar tune. But the words are all new and I must not forget them.

He loves my big smile. He loves my hugs. He loves that I wrestle him. He loves how I love him. He uses the word love, liberally. He warbles his love with the utter unselfconsciousness of the very young. He fills the car with it and I can barely breathe.

Each word wraps itself around my heart, my lungs, my gut and squeezes till I feel that I won’t be able to draw breath past the building tears.

Carnegie Hall has nothing on an old car seat tonight.


Shared with Emily and friends.