Mommy stone / by Christina Rosalie

“Where is my mommy stone?” He asks, upper lip quivering. It is bed time. I’ve come to say good night. Then he says, “I love you and I missed you.” He says this often, the latter almost automatically following the former; but it’s also something that must reflect the hunger his little self feels for mommy time. I’m not always available the way I could be—if I were wholly and exclusively focused on being his mother. Selfishly, I take time for me often. I write, I run, I forfeit controlling the circumstance of his days in exchange for time to do my own things.

Now we’re in the semi dark. He’s talking about the small stone I gave him when I went back to work this year. I told him it was a Mommy Stone with kisses in it, to rub on his cheek if he missed me. I don’t know why he’s suddenly thought of it tonight, and seeing him, upper lip trembling, I want to make everything immediately okay.

“I’ll find you another mommy stone and put kisses in it and have it ready for you in the morning,” I rush to offer.

“But how can I see the kisses? How do they get in there?” He is earnest, almost crying, and suddenly I’m over come too. I wrap him in the dark, kissing his cheeks a hundred times, tears suddenly, unexpectedly wet on my cheeks. “You can’t see them, you can feel them when you rub the Mommy stone on your cheek. Because I love you, and I put the kisses in there just for you,” I say.

“Okay,” he says, and then “I love you, I love you mommy.”

“I love you too, with my whole heart,” I whisper into the air against his cheek.

“I love you, I love you,” he says, his arms wrapped around my neck.