Sometimes good things are a quick surprise. Sudden joy without effort. Sometimes.

Often though, good things take a while.

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You know this. Green grows before it blooms. Cake bakes before it tastes. Wakening before day. There’s an order and a space and time – patience, right? – and then sometimes, after all the growing or stirring or whatever, it happens.

I tuck him in his bed, like I’ve done since he came. Toes covered by Scooby Doo blanket, quilt snuggled under chin, glasses on shelf. I reach down for the hug – I remember the first few, his arms straight like sticks and how I had to teach him the curving into that makes hugging real – and I kiss his cheek and whisper I love you into his ear.

I leave the room and as I’m closing the door behind me a small voice reaches my ear.

Sometimes it takes a hundred nights to hear I love you, too.

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