He laughs with his whole body.

Sitting on the couch, he pulls his lanky legs up to his chin and stares at me with bright blue eyes. His knees are knobby, his arms gangly, the first glimpse of puberty found in his awkwardly long limbs. A scattering of freckles dusts the lean cheeks that once were full of baby fat and dimples. This is eleven, and it is a door through which I can glimpse just a hint of the man he will become.

“Moooooom!” The word is full of dismay and joy in equal parts, torn between embarrassment at my antics and the joy that bubbles up from within. He locks his attention on me and waits with barely contained patience. I make him wait just a little longer, and his keen eyes flash.

“Bed for time,” I tell him in a serious tone. His body shakes again as the laughter comes. His face cracks open in a grin, his arms flail just a little, and he jumps from the couch to place his hands on his slender hips. His body is thin and long, his height suddenly towering.

“You said it wrong!”

I did, son. I did. And the gift of your laughter, your joy, will have me saying it wrong again and again – even if you should have been in bed long ago.

These moments are everything.