Treasure the Need

Posted on | June 18, 2014 | 2 Comments

Last week, I was at my wits end with my son. He was acting out and being four and in general driving me crazy. I felt like I was never, ever going to escape the madness of him… the angst-ridden, “potty word” filled, whirling dervish of his attitude. He was just so… four. He woke up in the middle of the night EVERY NIGHT and climbed in my bed, digging his feet beneath my knees and warming the room with his particular brand of four year old body heat. He whined. He told me to “just get him some breakfast!” He never got dressed on time. He never brushed his teeth.

I was very sure that I would never EVER say “Oh you’ll miss these moments” because WHO WOULD MISS THAT STUFF? Why would I ever “treasure” these moments of terror?

On Sunday, I picked him up from his grandparents’ house. He seemed about a foot taller. He didn’t whine, not even once. Even Banks, before he left, gave J a fist bump and high five for being such a big boy and not whining.

That night, he slept all night in his own bed, in the room I’d meticulously cleaned all weekend… wondering why I did so since he never slept there anyway. On Monday night, he didn’t set one foot in my room and he was just so… good… that I wondered if he’d been body snatched.

And this morning, I woke up at six o’clock and lay very still, wondering why I couldn’t hear him breathing, wondering why I felt so rested. He wasn’t there in the middle of my bed, taking up all the space and more than his share of covers. There was no morning snuggle as he woke up, no singing of “Rise and Shine and give God the Glory.” There was only the slight sound of noise in the kitchen and so I got up and shuffled towards the coffee pot alone, only to find him quietly playing with his toys, dressed and smiling.

“I got dressed all by myself, mom!” He announced with a grin, sporting his Carolina t-shirt and khaki shorts. “Can I have sausage for breakfast?”

I made his breakfast and set it down for him, watching this stranger in my son’s body. I watched him play, watched him become a boy, no longer a baby, right before my eyes. He was tall and strong and full of life. He had slept all night in his bed. He had dressed himself. He was learning not to have accidents at school and indeed hadn’t had one all week.

His fifth birthday is just around the corner and suddenly it hit me that what you miss isn’t the tantrums and the crazy. You don’t miss the interruptions in sleep or the eye rolls or the attitude.

What you miss is quite simply knowing that he needs you. Knowing that he sleeps better when he’s curled around you… knowing that when he’s tired or frustrated or just… four… that he wants that moment of comfort in your arms, even if it’s in the middle of the night.

And so when I woke up alone this morning, I felt a pang of loneliness I never expected to feel. I am so proud of my little boy for growing up every day. I am so very proud of the boy he is becoming.

But yes, the moments of baby… the moments of toddler and pre-schooler… the moments of frustration because “CAN’T HE JUST DO ANYTHING BY HIMSELF”… yes.

Oh my yes, I miss them. Who knew how much I would miss those terrible, tantrum filled-moments when all he needed was my arms around him to feel better. Who knew how much I would miss the sheer baby-ness of him … along with the predictable thump and pad of his feet down the hall to my room in the middle of the night.

It’s not, after all, the moments that you should treasure… because those are too hard to wrap your mind around. It is instead the feeling of being needed, of being the center and focal point of his universe. That it what goes away. That is what you miss, when they sleep all night in their own bed, and calmly dress themselves.


2 Responses to “Treasure the Need”

  1. mycrazybusylife
    June 18th, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

    I look at my almost 18 & 16 year olds who are more man than boy and still miss those days when they were only 4 & 6. It seems like only yesterday. @

  2. NinjaPanza
    June 26th, 2014 @ 9:12 am

    Ah, little boys – mini men – I love and hate they way they grow and change so much!

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