I lay awake at night listening to him breathe. The sounds go from a simple in and out to the slight snore of a child fast asleep.

How long can I keep him my baby? How long can I keep him under my wing? I hold him and kiss him and do more than tell him I love him. I say and ask, you know I love you, right?

I don’t want him to just hear the words. I want him to know it. And feel it. And be more sure of it than anything else in the world because it’s the only way I know to save him.

There’s nothing to save him from yet but I worry, worry, worry. Will he have anxiety and depression like me? Will he turn to drugs? Will he be bullied for being the smart kid? Will something or someone drive him to the depths of despair where he will take his own life?

This is what I fear. That you’ll take him from me. That you won’t let my love be enough to keep him here.

I kiss his cheeks every night. I scratch his back. I rub his hair. And in the dark moments in his room when he’s just drifted into sleep, this is when my pleading is the strongest.

Keep him here so the world will see the amazing little boy I know turn into an amazing man. But mainly keep him here for me. Because without my baby, my heart would shrivel and die.