Leaving the Window Open

A few months ago I was walking my Little Mr. to school and he asked in a serious little voice, "Would you leave the window open for me?" Without any context, this was a strange question. To get clarification I reflected the question back, "Leave the window open for you?" and then I understood. "You're thinking of the story of Peter Pan where Peter flies out the window as a baby (because all babies can fly) and then returns home after a few years to find his mother has given up hope for him and closed the window?" (note: this is not in the Disney version but it's in the original J.M. Barrie book.) "Yes, that's right," confirmed Little Mr., "So, would you leave the window open for me?" I told him that, if he flew out the window, I would (just like Mrs. Darling) sit by the open window all day and sleep by the open window all night, until he came home.

When my Little Mr. was a baby I would sit staring at his sleeping face and think to myself, "You, my baby, will someday break my heart." I imagined a hundred ways he could break my heart. The list started with him saying he hated me and ended with him moving to China without leaving a forwarding address. I never, in all those moments of watching his sleeping face, imagined the beautiful and sweet ways he would break my heart. How could I have imagined he would break my heart by asking whether I would leave the window open?


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