From Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler's Soul

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We say “I love you” to our children, but it’s not enough. Maybe that’s why mothers hug and hold and rock and kiss and pat.

Joan McIntosh

One day, I was cleaning and reorganizing my dresser drawers. My three-year-old helper carried pile after pile and placed them at the foot of the bed. T-shirts, underwear and shirts awaited sorting and refolding. She peered into each drawer to make certain I had emptied everything.

In the bottom of Daddy’s dresser, Christina spotted a large manila envelope. As she toddled over to the bed to carefully place it next to the growing mound of clothes, curiosity got the better of her.

“Mommy, what’s this?” She flipped it end-over-end.

“It’s an X-ray, honey.”

“What’s an X-ray, Mommy?”

“It’s a picture of the inside of someone’s body.”

“Oh. Can I see the inside of someone’s body?”

“Sure, sweetie. Here, let me take it out and show you how to look at it.”

With her blonde pigtails bouncing, she carried the envelope to me and watched as I unwound the string that latched it. Eagerly, she pulled the top edge open to peer inside.

“Gentle now, we don’t want to damage the picture,” I warned.

Her bare feet danced on the golden carpet. She shook with Christmas-like excitement as I pulled the film from its protective covering.

“Let me see. Let me see.”

“Calm down, and I’ll show you.” I sat on the floor, faced the window and patted the rug next to me. “First, we have to hold the picture up to the light, like this.”

A small frown creased her forehead as she strained to make sense of what she saw. “I can’t find the picture.”

“Sweetie, it’s the inside of my body,” I stressed. “It shows bones. Look. Here. This is my backbone.” I traced the thick column in the center. “And you see this? This is you!”

“That’s me?” Her brows furrowed, and she tilted her head from side to side.

“It sure is, when you were a baby.” I pointed and traced the outlines to help her understand. “Up here is your head, and this is your back—just like mine, but very small.”

“Ohhh . . .” Christina leaned close and examined every detail.

“And see this? This is your leg, and this is your arm. What do you think about that?”

Christina pondered the question for a minute, then turned to me with a huge smile. “Mommy, we were bones together!”

She pushed aside the picture and gave me a tight squeeze, locking forever our sacred bond.

Jo Moon

Reprinted by permission of Off the Mark. Mark Parisi.

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