The smile on his face lit up my heart. I'm part of the safety net that keeps him happy and present at after school activities. His mom thanks me. He thanks me. I just grin and accept the kudos. They really aren't necessary. The fact of him in my life is enough.
A piece of me is sad that I can't be there for FlapJilly in the same way, but that gets me no where so I'm leaving it alone. It is what it is; I must move on. All I can do is hope that she, too, will have a non-family grown-up on whom she can rely.
Mr. 9 and I have secrets. We make presents for Amster and don't tell her what they are. He hides them in his room rather than letting me keep them secure in my Gift Closet; he's old enough to do that now.
We tell one another stories and make up new words to old favorites. Today he learned Pogo's Christmas Carol; Daddooooo would be very proud of him. He wraps his tongue around the unfamiliar constructions and giggles with his eyes.... his mouth is too busy singing.
We go on adventures and do silly things, like riding mechanical wheeled animals through the Mall.
Being bigger and stronger and smarter is important to him, and I'm happy to give him the opportunity. He's the littlest in a house full of humans and beasts; even the dogs outweigh him. Having success in areas which are usually beyond him lets him stand up just a little bit straighter and feel just a little bit more powerful. There's a certain amount of chaos in his life; mastery of the piece that intersects with me gives him a certain amount of peace.
His sports quotient far outstrips his mother's ability to converse with him on the topics dearest to his heart. So, we talk about why
I thank the Cuters and TBG for filling my head with enough data to keep a 9 year old happy. Mr. 9 enjoys telling his friends that Suzi told me that. It's a win-win situation, and the world needs more of those.
He's on my permanent schedule for Wednesday afternoons when he's living at his mom's house, and I add Tuesdays and Thursdays when my life allows. We've painted at the ceramics studio and strolled through the book store and he's tagged along on my errands if I ask him to join me. He's happy to share the afternoons with me, and I return the sentiment... in spades.
It's not that we do anything extraordinary, and that's the most wonderful part of it all. There are little flecks of love in the air whenever I'm around him. They jump from his eyes and his heart straight into my soul.
I laugh when Amster thanks me and buys me lunch and tells me I'm wonderful. She thinks I am doing her a favor by carting him around so that she can stay at the office. But she's missing the point, entirely. He's another gift I give to myself. I should be thanking her..... and I do.