Ralph's gift

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Last night in the middle of cooking dinner I went into the playroom and when Ralph saw me, he held out his arms and said "Mummy pick up? Cuddle?" So I picked him up and he snuggled his head into that little nook between my neck and chin and then he murmured, "Lub loo Mummy."  (Love you Mummy). There is pretty much nothing better in this life or the next than to hear your child say "love you," unprompted.

Ralph's gift is that he makes people feel wanted. That is a powerful gift. Ralph doesn't judge your appearance, your intelligence or even your motivations. Ralph just accepts you for you.

From his earliest days, if I handed Ralph into your arms, Ralph would look at you and smile. People who were unfamiliar with babies, uncomfortable with babies, or just didn't like babies, loved Ralph.

Because Ralph would make them feel wanted, and everyone wants to feel wanted, don't they? Like when you're not a dog person but that orphaned puppy chooses your feet to sleep on. Or when the most popular kid in school picks you first for their tunnel-ball team.

Ralph makes you feel like that. He makes me feel like that every day. It is his gift.

Ralph. Is a sweet, gentle soul, who loves unabashedly and loyally. Ralph celebrates love.

Ralph. Calls loudly for cuddles and kisses, chubby arms and hands outstretched. Likes to kiss me on the forehead, like a benediction: "Kiss hair, Mummy? Kiss hair?" And I bow to him. 

Ralph. Adores his sister Scout above all else. He can't pronounce her real name, so he calls her Sister. Now, we all call her Sister.

Ralph. Gets hangry. (Really, really hangry)

Ralph. Didn't crawl until he was almost one and didn't walk until 18 months, then seemed to wake up one morning with the ability (and ardent desire) to walk, run, climb and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Ralph. It is our theory that that first year spent not-crawling was spent sitting and watching and listening and absorbing things instead, because suddenly Ralph emerged whip-smart, able to carry full conversations.

Ralph. Moves at full speed or full stop. He literally falls asleep face-first into meals. If I'm tickling him to keep him awake in the car (yes, I am THAT mother), he will simply shake his head and say "No thank you. Tired, Mummy," and then stick his thumb into his mouth and close his eyes.

Ralph. Is obsessed with animals of all kinds and, when his excitement becomes too great to bear, it manifests in shrieks of laughter.

A child's laughter could end wars.

Ralph. Loves to have his hands kissed, and offers them up to my lips like royalty.

When Ralph says "I love you" he always pronounces it "lub loo" and every time he says it, something constricts in my throat.