Know what I think?
I think little boys should not be allowed to turn four years old. Especially those little boys who happen to be their mother’s “baby.”
A mother’s heart is a crazy thing. Half of it wants our small children to hurry up and wean, hurry up and potty train, hurry up and gain some independence already. And yet the other half wants them to never do any of those things and to remain exactly as they are forever. When the inevitable happens and they do gain some self-sufficiency, our hearts ache just a little at what feels like the ultimate betrayal.
I remember one day years ago when a friend remarked that pretty soon my daughter would be old enough to baby sit her younger siblings and I would gain some freedom.
“No way!” I gasped. “No way!”
And yet in that same moment of denial some small part of me was scheming. I was plotting sippy cup-free excursions of all kinds. I was contemplating the pleasure of stepping into a car and buckling in only myself before turning the key in the ignition.
I was more than ready.
But I wake up on a day like today, Daniel’s fourth birthday, and I don’t feel ready for this growing up thing at all.
I want to freeze my little man and package him up tight. I want to preserve him, just as he is, forever. But I know I will just have to settle for remembering.
I want to remember his sandy hair, in wild blonde tufts that smells like the ocean at the end of a summer day. I want to remember his fat toes, his chubby, boyish hands, and the wild grin he gives me when he’s about to try out some naughty.
I want to remember the little boy who a few weeks ago bounded into my bedroom.
“Mama, dis is for you,” he announced solemnly.
He stood on one foot and spun. He held his arms out to the sides to keep his balance and then came to a sudden stop. He glanced at me shyly before bowing — one hand held elegantly to the side for dramatic effect.
For me, from him. I’ll take it.
(cross-posted at The Anchoress)