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I have been on a mission for days to find something to tuck in my son’s suitcase to let him know I am always thinking about him while he is far away in Ecuador this upcoming year. It needed to be small and something he’d immediately know was from me, but when I went on a search around the house there wasn’t anything obvious. My pocketbook was boring, and the kitchen junk drawer was truly just junk. I found a soapstone elephant from my trip to Africa in the dining room corner cupboard, and elephants are good luck, but it was not likely to remind him of anything special about me. Then I opened my bedside table drawer and found what I was looking for, a skinny little book called “Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?”

At bedtime, when he was little and couldn’t settle down, my husband would carry him out to the backyard and show him the moon, exactly as Papa Bear did for Little Bear in the story. There is a picture of my husband and Andrew, when he was two, pasted into the front cover with a note saying it was a father’s day gift to Mike. It may not seem very ‘Mom’, but I read him a million books when he was a babe, and this represented them all.

I confidently tucked my find into his suitcase as a reminder that we cared for him from the beginning and that we care for him still. He’ll know right away when he finds it that it was me who put it there. And all he has to do is look at the moon, even from below the equator, to know we are still here and loving him, looking at the same moon he is, only from the backyard back home just as we always have.