E. scrambles over to me just as I sit down in the big red rocking chair.
He all but flings his toddler body atop my lap while signing for milk.
I scoop his still-small body into my arms.
And I do something I rarely used to do when his older brother was a toddler -- I rock him.
E. drifts to sleep nestled against my chest. As he snores softly, hums sweetly in his slumber after exhaling, I contemplate sitting here, cuddling him in my arms for his entire nap.
Just a few years ago, I would have rushed a sleeping toddler upstairs to his own bed, eager to move about the house and accomplish my ever-growing to-do lists
But at 28, I rock him, bask in the weight of his body pressed into my own. Soak up his gentle sounds. Brush my fingers against his still soft, still chubby cheeks.
I've watched one small body morph seemingly overnight into one that spans half of my own height, so I revel in the second one's smallness.
Today, my first day of 28, I stand a little awed at the differences between my newly gifted age and even 25 or 26.
I love more freely, and I'm less bound by my own fears in expressing my heart.
I play more often, less encumbered by the mounds of work piling around us.
I live more within the the realm of my children, my husband, my family and friends and less and less inside my own head.
Today, my first day of 28, I marvel at my newness yet my sameness, my growth as well as my deep-rooted beliefs, my maturing view and my youth.
I find myself no longer desiring to remain 22, but rather to love where I am -- at 28.
I embrace another year, a bigger number.
Because age doesn't just bring wrinkles or gray hair.
Its gifts a far more numerous.
And I suspect, though I've opened a few of those gifts, I can't even quite comprehend the vastness, the depth, the grandeur of the majority of those to come.