He was screaming my name as I walked through the door after dance class.
First thought: Oh no... One of those nights. It was 9:30. And we'd already had one of those mornings.
I headed for the stairs, preparing for requests for water, the fan, more music... in whatever the night's random order might be.
"He has something for you," Jon called to me from the other room.
Jules met me in the doorway of his bedroom, where just outside - in the fully lit (!) hallway - Demps stood guard. He was beaming, in avocado-green lumberjack-monkey PJs. Sort of shyly, he extended his little hand which held a carefully taped purple package.
"I made it for you, Mama. It's art for your work. And I wrapped it so you couldn't see it. Like Christmas."
Wrapped it he did. When I gently unfolded the Scotch-secured construction-paper outer envelope, there, inside, was another present, packaged up in a gold-embossed elephant design, paper I purchased years ago when my friend Beth was selling it as a fundraiser for little Marty's pre-school. Marty will be 11 in a couple of weeks. Damn.
While Jules leaned in proudly, I got to the center of my surprise: a piece of driftwood, artfully colored with what looks to have been lush oil-based crayons. Apparently he made it at school, "the end of the day, Mama" and, according to Jon, insisted on spending most of the evening wrapping it up. For me. (Which means a lot to this Mama of a Daddy's boy.)
I will cherish it forever.