Posted on | August 23, 2013 | 7 Comments
It was an average afternoon. I’d spent the morning cleaning up, doing little things here and there, pushing the vacuum cleaner over and around the carpets and floors. Every now and then I would stop, place a tender hand on my stomach and smile through the twinge and pull of feelings there.
It was August 22, 2009, and I was nine months pregnant.
Yesterday, I rolled over in bed and faced a lanky child, his hands tucked behind his head, his legs long, his face momentarily serene. I watched him lie there, watched his not-so-little red t-shirt rise and fall with each breath before I raised up on one elbow and planted a kiss on his cheek. He moved only slightly and I started to sing:
“Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday dear sweet way too big, J… Happy birthday to you!”
He grunted slightly, curling his body into a smile, all arms and legs and snuggles while he pried open his eyes and grinned.
It’s still a little impossible for me to believe. It’s still a little too old, a little too surreal, a little too strange that my infant son should be so… non-infanty. If you ask me to, I can still describe how he felt in my arms, how soft and powdery he smelled, how he wrinkled up into a ball, his toes flexing and his fingers grasping at his cheeks and the air and my fingers. If I close my eyes, I can still picture him gurgling and giggling, his feet frenetically bouncing against the mattress of his crib when I’d sneak in for a peek. Sometimes, in my mine, I still hear the loud, piercing cries of his infancy, the soft suck of his pacifier, the tender lilt of his voice as he sounded out “language” long before there were ever words.
He is four, now. He is crazy and silly and full of so much imagination that it shoots out like fireworks from his fingertips and his tongue and the not so curly anymore tendrils of his hair. Everything about him is rough and tumble… until it isn’t, and he throws himself at my side, leaning his head against my shoulder or tucking his feet across my lap. He still snuggles, even now. Even at four. When he plays with his toys alone, he makes up strange voices for the animals or superheroes and I’m reminded of stories my mother tells about me… and I smile. He is mine. He is attitude and emotion and drama and angst and he is 100% mine in almost every way. And then he’ll sit down and begin to sing, making up songs that seem entirely too advanced for a four year old mind to create and I smile because yes, he is his father’s, too, this sweet four year old boy who slays me daily with the looks and words and oh-so-much attitude, like a pre-teen child.
I am reminded every day of just how much my world has changed since I switched off the vacuum cleaner and crawled into my bed to whisper to J’s father that I was sure I would have a baby that day. I am blown away every day by how empty and dull and dry my world must have been … before.
Before this whirlwind wonder of a child spiraled out of control into my arms and heart and life.
I am bound to him, mind, heart, and soul, with the ferocity of a mother’s love, with the tearful heartache of knowing he will not always be mine… to snuggle, to comfort, to soothe and tuck in at night. He will not always be mine.
But I am forever his.
Happy Fourth Birthday, my wonderful J.