"I'm so sorry, babe," I murmured. "It sounded like it hurt." After a few long seconds of a tight hug, I added,"Hey, are you using shampoo?"
"Oh come on, mom."
"You're not. Your hair smells yuck."
"That's rude. That's just mean to bring it up right now."
"I'm just saying. Killing two birds and all that, like your hair would. You have to use shampoo every day."
"Don't hug me then."
"Look, my greatest joy as a mother -- out of all of the things over all of the years -- is the pleasure of secretly sniffing your hair when we hug. Please don't steal that sweetness from me. I only have a few years left. Please, if not for the sake of your hygiene, please use the shampoo so that I can have that."
I thought I sensed a softness in him then. He's usually as weak as I am about the thought of him growing up and leaving me.
"So this is all about you then? I fell down. Does everything have to be about you?"
(I was wrong about the softness.)
"Yes. Everything is about me. Your leg is fine, your hair is not. Please use the shampoo."