I cant be the only one. The only mother who cries a week before her child’s birthday, who is so greedy and selfish that they want the days to last longer so the years don't pass as quickly. Tell me I’m not the only one who’s as proud as they are sad, tearing up over old pictures right before the memories trigger a million fuzzy feelings of complete and perfect happiness...
"That was you! You were a baby!" I tell him when he looks at pictures of an unrecognizable version of himself. He can't even grasp that the stranger baby was him a year ago. In fact, he thinks the baby is boring.
"Do you love him?" I ask, certain that my sensitive 2 year old, who frequently requests I "get cuddly" with him and two blankets atop a gigantic stuffed bear he calls "Boog," will love the baby I'm showing him. My baby.
"No." He responds, unimpressed.
"Well I love him! That's MY baby!" I boast, hoping the fondness is contagious, "Do you want a baby, Dylan?"
"No..." He matter of fairly shrugs before walking away. I watch him as he runs towards his toys. That picture baby has transformed into a little big boy so subtlety that I almost feel gypped.
So long dependency. To the real kind, that requires balancing a small human body on a hip with six bags of groceries because there's no other way...with babies. Hello, independence. To the exciting kind, that buzzes with new experiences, learning, and wonder. Like riding on carousels, running on sand in parks, and asking "what's this" two dozen times in a row...like kids do. KIDS.
Because that's what I have now. A little kid, who wants to speak more for himself each day, who concocts his own ideas and expresses his own desires, like cookies instead of dinner (ain't happening) or climbing into my dresser's drawers. The kid is emerging and the babe is on its way out. But before the nostalgia (and the realization that he won't fit in those drawers next year) can consume me, I hear a cry for mommy from the other room.
He fell off the slide and he wants me. He wants ME, his mother, the one he knows he can manipulate with kisses and will pick him up even if he's too heavy to carry. He knows I'll trudge along because when he needs me- I'm there. And I'm so grateful for his faith in me, his confidence in me, his innate trust that whatever I'll do will be exactly what he needs despite the fact I'm winging it. Somehow it's always enough even when it doesn't seem like it to me. I have him to thank for that.
I live for these moments, the big ones and the small. The baby, the toddler, the boy, the man, the whole shebang of public tantrums and cuddles with two blankets. So I let the hugs linger and I never let go first. Because in just two years I have a walking, talking, little boy, who will one day have arms strong enough to carry his mom...or his own baby.
So yes, I'm selfish and I admit that I'm greedy, because if given the chance to go back to the day my child was born, I'd do it all over again, and again, and again. Today I have a kid...but on February 5, 2013, I had a baby.
Happy Birthday my precious little Dylan! You are every bit of perfect! Watching you grow is a gift! Dad and Mom love you.