Four years ago, around this time, I was going to the hospital for my C-section. It was a scheduled C for medical reasons, which you can read about elsewhere in this blog, and I was scared and nervous. I’d worked so hard for so long, and we’d spent so much money on fertility treatments, I just wanted to get that baby out and home and safe. I can still remember taking a bath the night before going to the hospital and crying, knowing that this was the last bath I would ever take as a pregnant woman. I loved being pregnant. I wish I had been able to have more children, I would have had two or three like I planned when I was young. But my one hatchling turned out to be all I need, more than enough to fill every corner of my heart, soul and mind, crowding out anything selfish that had been there previously, while I adjusted the focus of my life to point squarely upon him.
Everyone says the time passes so quickly, and they’re right. Infancy was like an overnight blur of crying (both of us) and rocking and sleep deprivation, of fretting and checking that the baby was still alive, co-sleeping and babywearing and cute, tiny clothes. In what seemed like about a week later, he was turning one. Things slowed down a little after that, but it’s still too fast. A year feels like about two months. You turn around and he’s into another size of shoes, or that shirt’s sleeves are too short. At four now, he has logic and reasoning, insistence and persistence. He is a person on his own, but still depends on me for so many things. I can’t imagine a day where I’m not helping him zip his coat or button his shorts or brush his teeth, but I know it’s coming. Our job as parents every day is to train them a little bit at a time to break your heart in the biggest way – to make them not need you any longer. It’s what we do, it’s important, and so we do it. At four, my son can make a basic salad dressing, crack an egg into a bowl, pour pasta into boiling water. He can identify almost every variety of fruit and vegetable, many I didn’t even know existed when I was much older than he is. He runs like the wind. He observes the clouds when we drive and tells me when it’s going to rain, or muses that maybe this weekend we can go to the kiddie park. He is fast and loud and an expert at physical comedy, yet when he fell asleep on the Healthline this past weekend, he curled up next to me like a baby animal, and held onto me softly as I carried him off the bus and to our car, his hair blowing into my eyes. He startles me sometimes, this boy, and I don’t just mean the elbow to the eye or the bruises I get from playing with him, but when he’ll bring a toy out of his room he no longer plays with, and say, “Mom, maybe we can put this in the pile of things for the poor children. I don’t need it anymore.” I took him to Dunkin Donuts for a special breakfast treat today, and said he could get two doughnuts and he said, “No Mom, I think I only need one.” How did this happen? How did I get so lucky?
I did not know my heart had the capacity to feel what it does for this wondrous creature. Happy birthday, my sweet boy.