“Mama, can I sleep with something that smells like you?”

Ahhhh. My heart so full, yet so painfully aware of this fleeting moment. This overwhelming, outspoken love my boys show me everyday.

“I get to sit next to mom when she reads my book.”

Pushing and shoving to be closest to me. One of the only forms of fighting I gladly tolerate. A competition for my affection. I rearrange these three lanky boys, in hopes of making them all feel as loved as they make me feel. I wrap an arm around each, one on my left and one on my right. Then, there’s the youngest that gets to sit on my lap. And somehow, I can still manage to read the book, and turn the pages. God gifted me with these awkwardly long arms and big hands. For holding these three boys all so close? Yes. Tonight. They used to be one of my strengths on the basketball court. So useful for tipping rebounds in my direction or deflecting passes from going where my opponent intended. But now, they gracefully maneuver these oh, so lovable boys on my lap. By my side. Growing up much too fast. Pause time. Please, let me indulge in and remember these moments where I feel overwhelmed. In the most beautiful way. Overwhelmed by love.

Most days, I rush them to grab their shoes, get to the car, buckle their seat belts. We are always running late. Slow down time. Let me live in the moments where words can’t begin to describe what my heart feels. Where big soft tears trickle down my face. There’s not enough time to wipe them away because the next round comes too quickly. So, tonight, I sit here listening to their deep sleep breathing. Needing to move them to their own beds.

But, it’s hard. Lately, every time I move their sleeping six year old bodies to their own beds, I wonder if this is getting close to the last time I will carry them. Without waking them. Tonight, they sleep clutching a shirt of mine that I have sprayed my perfume on. So, that it will smell “like me.” The funny thing is since having these boys I rarely wear perfume, except to go on dates with their dad. So, maybe they associate the smell with me leaving them. Rushing around to make dinner and get ready to go out.  The babysitter arriving. Us leaving. The smell of my perfume lingering?

I just can’t move them. I won’t move them tonight. “You have a really big bed.” They always say. Little bed thieves. Well, they are right. Afterall, it is a “king size” bed. They can sleep in their own beds tomorrow night. I just need to listen to them breathing a little while longer. And just feel. So overwhelmed. In the best kind of way.

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