The first thing I saw when they handed you to me was that tiny dimple on your right cheek. If it was put there on purpose to win me over, it worked. Sometimes in the middle of the night I’d scoop you up from the crib and snuggle you close. You used to reach up and trace the outline of my face with your little finger, like you were trying to memorize the moment forever. You were my buddy that first year; my sidekick. Wherever I went you were there. I had learned the painful act of saying goodbye in the mornings too early with your sister. It was a heartache I didn’t want to feel again. So there we were, making it work; our schedules meshing in some way or another. You ended where I began.
One time a woman who was observing us at a restaurant said “I can just tell that boy has a wonderful spirit.” I wanted to hug her for seeing exactly what I saw. You were happy, inquisitive, fun, and completely transparent. I’d say “No” and you’d happily reply “Ok.” You almost always had a bruise or a fat lip on your precious face. You were the spitting image of your Grandpy Joe who you share your middle name with. I used to love watching the two of you together…
I also loved the way you’d swing your arms when you walked and clapped them in front like you didn’t have a care in the world. The way you shouted “Fatadoos!” when you saw fruit in the grocery store like an extra on The Sopranos. The way you’d slap your cheeks and yell GOODNESS when something didn’t work out. Your sense of humor surpassed your age. You were always at your calmest when closest to my heart. And I felt my calmest then, too.
I loved the way you called me “Mumma” and the way your hair curled up at the nape of your neck. I loved the way you would run from the other room when I whispered “ouch” to make sure I was okay. Your skin smelled like heaven every morning and I could fall into your dimple every night. You radiated pure love. You stole my heart.
I hope that when you are reading this as a teenager your eyes still light up when I walk in the room. I hope that when you are sad you think of our embrace. I hope that when you think of childhood memories, you smile. And I hope that when you’re asked about me, you blush. Not because you’re embarrassed, but because you’re still in love…
Happy 2nd Birthday Decker Patrick Quinn,
I love you more than life.