I’m watching TV on the couch with my two-year-old – both of us feeling a bit under the weather – when he turns his body slightly and rests his legs on my lap. Not the squishy, doughy legs of a baby, but the sturdy, slightly chubby legs of a toddler. Legs that kick up splashes in the swimming pool and twist and bob to music. Legs that feel so fast when they run, no matter that the gait resembles a stagger always perilously close to a fall. Legs with a freckle on the left knee.
He rests his legs on my lap without request or apology; supremely confident and utterly comfortable in the position. There’s something achingly sweet about those little incidental touches: a small hand resting on my leg as we share a snack, a downy head leaning sleepily on my shoulder, a row of tiny rosebud-toes pressing my foot as we sit together on a step.
In an odd sort of way, there’s nothing like being casually used as a pillow by my child to make me feel loved. For him it’s merely a soft and easeful drift to the closest place of comfort. And for me, the very simplicity of the situation is a dear reminder that, despite a myriad of parental shortcomings, I am still that safe and trusted place.
He rests his legs on my lap and says, without so many words, I am yours and you are mine.