Last night it was my turn to 'do Coen's night'. When Tad took Lucy upstairs to brush her teeth and discuss for several long minutes which jammies she was to don, I took the opportunity to keep my children separated and cuddled up with Coen on the couch. He was hungry, as he often is these days, my growing eight year old, so I gave him an apple.
"What should we do?" He asked.
"Tell me a story!"
So I thought for a moment. "About what?"
"Tell me..." he said, hands around his apple, "about when you were little. The first time you remember Papa and Baba..." He paused. "I mean, not when you first came out of their tummies! (HA!) But when you can first remember something about them."
So I told him about being six years old when I had the chicken pox and my mom, his Baba, picked me up from school and set me up on the couch with a fresh tablet of paper and a new box of markers. I drew a picture of myself with red dots on my face. He liked that. I told him another one, and suddenly I was telling him a story from every year. Once I got to age 28, I said, "Then I had you! And when I was 29, I married your daddy."
"Wait!" He said, looking at me, surprised. "You had me before you married my daddy?"
And I said, "Yes, sometimes people have a baby first and sometimes they get married first."
Coen settled in under my arm. "Tell me about when you fell in love with my daddy."
I hugged him. And then told him the story of Tad and I falling in love. And it was wonderful to tell it to a child--to MY child. I've told it so many times to other adults and have worried about sounding hokey or talking too much. But to tell it to Coen, in the simplest of ways, about how we were friends first and fell in love...
"Well", I said, "Daddy and I were friends and I thought he was so nice and funny and smart..." "He is!" Coen said. "And then one day, I saw him and my heart was suddenly beating real fast. Like this..." I tapped my hand on Coen's chest. "
And what did Daddy say?" Coen asked.
"Well, when I hugged him, I noticed that his heart was beating fast too! And I thought, 'Well! This is strange. Why are we both so nervous and excited. We're just friends!'"
Coen looked at me expectantly.
"Well" I went on, "We spent time together, feeling like that and then one morning, we kissed."
Coen jumped off the couch, clearly full of excitement and energy and jumped around. "Pretend..."Coen said, "That I'm not born yet and I'm just twinklin' in Daddy's eye, but I see you are about to kiss each other." "Okay!" I said.
Coen scrunched himself up in what I suppose he must have though was the most appropriate stance for a twinkle in someone's eye. "Kiss! Kiss each other, I want you to fall in love so you can make ME!!!"
"Tell me more!" He said.
"So then, Daddy had to go to work and I was afraid he didn't feel the same way as me."
"Like how?" Coen asked.
"Like I knew that I was going to love him forever and marry him. But then that night he called me and I told him I wanted to talk to him and he said he was going to come over. And then before we hung up, he said 'I love you.'"
Coen jumped up and down, as if he could feel the joy I felt that night. Maybe he could.
"And then", I said, "I felt the happiest I had ever felt, ever. And so that's how we fell in love."
"And then you made me!" Coen shouted. "And then you married!"
We sure did.