Our feet shuffled across the back deck making soft whispers that betrayed our position to the feral animals that roamed the night. I stepped onto the grass and led him into the middle of our yard. The earth was cool and soft, beaten by the springs fevered rains and our toes sunk into it's muddy constitution. I shook out a blanket that had been picked specifically for this event and handed my son a pillow. We sat upon the ripped and tattered sheet; it's purpose now was to aid in the ease of discovery, and I smiled at the thought that reincarnation is available for all things. Uncurling my body I laid upon the thin fabric that was already failing in it's duty to keep us dry. My son followed suit, his warm and familiar frame, sprawled shoulder to shoulder next to mine.
His eyes followed my steady hand as I traced the constellations that lay before us; my finger the aspiring artist, my words a brilliant and colorful text, kept him fully engaged and deeply enthralled. His interest never faltered and he was enamoured by every new revelation. We wished upon the meteors that streaked through the sky and watched in wonder as satellites etched a path across the nights inky backdrop. Both of us were enveloped in rapturous awe of the universe and all the possibility it possessed; we held each other's hands and refused to let go - mother and son connected once more.
The daydream was beautiful and flawless.
I lounged languorously across my pale, microfiber couch, tracing the hand prints that marred it's stain "resistant" fabric. Four is a hard age for a mother to appreciate, I needed to make it mine, to love its inquisitive nature if only for a night. My fantasy of star gazing with my oldest child had become too good to ignore. I had a fleeting thought that his age might not be mature enough to appreciate such a task, but I pushed the whispered warnings from my mind. My bold imaginings allowed no room for doubt; so when I tiptoed into his room and roused him from sleep I was surprised to discover that my son was less than enthusiastic about my plan...
"It's a surprise. Just for us. Come on buddy - it'll be fun"
He looked at me as though I had grown another head.
"Can I have a new Optimus Prime instead?"
I tried to explain the eloquent nature of my plot. I tried to entice him with the knowledge that it was a secret rendezvous between us and us alone. Still he pleaded..."Maybe a new Bumblebee?"
His green eyes were solemn and resolute in their request and nothing else would do. A surprise just wasn't a surprise without a Transformer...
"Never mind buddy, just go back to sleep" I whispered. I shut the door behind me and patiently waited for him to shout out, "Mommy!" When no such call came I balked at the implications...Did he just ditch me for sleep?
I slunk away from his room feeling dejected and defeated and totally bewildered. My confusion soon melted away, however, as I realized that Gabriel is a leader, he will never follow anyone, not even his own mother. Besides, I thought, he is only four.
Who knows maybe if I'm lucky, one night when we're both a little older, he'll rouse me from sleep and insist that we go stargazing.
Carry on my wayward son/There'll be peace when you are done/Lay your weary head to rest/Don't you cry no more.