This past Sunday was our first full day without Gwen. Noah and I were setting up a puppet show when I realized Benji was no longer in the den. Last I had seen, he was arranging his Schliech farm animals inside a fence.
I looked around the house. He wasn’t in the breezeway playing with his car ramp. He was not in Noah’s room having a peek at Noah’s toys.
I found him in our bedroom, blankie tucked around his legs. He was trying to open a tube of Weleda skin cream that Gwen uses on his knuckles and face when he gets eczema. I sat down next to him.
“Do you want help with that?”
A very tiny, “Yes.”
I unscrewed the lid, squeezed a blop onto his knuckles, and gently massaged it in. I squeezed another blop onto my finger and massaged his chin and cheeks. Benji purred, bathing in the loving touch.
The sun was shining in through the window, warming us. Benji and I were cozy and in love, connected, staring into each other’s faces.
“I love you, Benji,” I whispered.
He smiled, soaking it in, basking in it.
And then he looked me right in the eyes, beaming, his tiny face alight, as he said, “I love … Mama.”
But it’s not personal. I think right now, for Benji, “I love Mama” is the most powerful phrase he can utter. It’s an ode to love. A magical incantation. It’s like Papa Smurf saying, “Boy, that Brian Leaf, he’s so Smurfy.”
Although, really, who knows, anyway, because right after that, still gazing into my eyes, he continued, “And I like goats and some hay.”
Brian Leaf is author of 11 books, including the yoga memoir, Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness. He is director of The New Leaf Learning Center, an holistic tutoring center in Massachusetts. Brian holds licenses or certifications as a Yoga Teacher, Massage Therapist, Energyworker, and Holistic Educator. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and two sons. You can find Brian Leaf online at misadventures-of-a-yogi-com.