He appears beside me, four years old and unaffected by the morning.
I continue to sort.
Still I don’t respond.
Roused by the increasing insistence of his plea I match his volume, annoyed.
Finally, willing to finish his sentence, he calmly says,
“Mom, how do you spell love?”
When I managed to return to physical form after melting into a pile of gooey mommy shame, I grab him by the head, pull him into my lap, and kiss as much l-o-v-e into his forehead as he can stand.