"Mom, can I please go with you on your walk with Zoe?"
I reluctantly agree. Without him I can walk faster, I can control Zoe on her leash, and best of all I can think without interruption. With him along it will be stop and start, stop and start. I will have to untangle my legs from Zoe's leash because he will want to walk her and with his continuous chatter there will be no more "thinking."
The walk is stop and start, stop and start, stop and start...to pick flowers...for me. Dandelions, little purple and white flowers that grow in the lawn, and other little bits of treasure from nature make up my growing bouquet.
The chatter is continuous. "Mom, I just have to tell you this if you promise not to tell anyone." Big pause during which I tell him he can trust me. "Okay, (a girl's name) likes me. I am not going to marry her, though, because she talks funny. " Another big pause. "I probably shouldn't have told you, but I just wanted to."
"You shouldn't give the kids so many chores to do. You know they won't be little for very long. Even Anna is turning into a little lady. She is getting bigger and should probably be in a real school."
Is this his way of getting rid of his big sister?
"You know, mom, in five years Caleb will be in college." His steps slow and when I turn to look at him I notice his face is turned downward.
Does that make you sad, buddy?
"Very. I will be losing my twin."
I don't mention that it will be less than five years. Instead I reassure him that although things will be different with Caleb in college, he won't be losing his brother. I wonder if I am reassuring myself, too.
And then I realize that with just one word, "no", I could have completely missed this glimpse into a little boy's heart today. With regret I wonder how many other moments I have missed.