Friday, March 5, 2010
The Last Baby
Today I watched your thin little gangly arms as you manipulated buttons to add and subtract your way through your math sheet. I watched the sprinkling of freckles across your nose and cheeks. I noticed how beat up your glasses were—rust spots, color rubbed off the frame, not to mention the dot of E6000 industrial strength glue holding one side together until we can see the eye doctor next month and order our yearly pair—and I just wanted to eat you up.
I am acutely aware of time passing in moments like this. You are only mine for a blip really, only going to be with me for a very short part of what I hope is a very long life. And it hurts. It hurts that you won’t always be a little boy that comes up to me and says out of the blue “I want to hug you Mama” and then after a short (but satisfying squeeze) you run off to continue building your legos or your K’nex or playing your wild imaginary game.
Katherine Center wrote a beautiful essay to accompany a video she created for the Mom 2.0 Summit that included the phrase “I have to love you this fiercely” and that thought, that idea, that intense mother love has been on my mind ever since. I have to love you this fiercely because oh-so-soon, you will grow up and go. You will leave my nest. There will be no more sprinkle of freckles with skinny arms sitting at next to me as we work our way through the necessary exercises of our individual lives.
I know that this is the natural order of things. I’m okay with it really. You should grow, progress, reach goals, find a life, find a wife, and find your own sprinkle of freckles to love fiercely. It would be weird and off-kilter if you didn’t. I knew all of this before I built your body and brought you here. I just didn’t realize that this delicious time would be so short. That wasn’t in my “What to Expect” books.
So I’ll work harder to keep each precious moment, each snuggle, each hug. I may hold on too long some days. I’ll kiss your neck and hold you close and share frozen yogurt and love every aching minute of it and as you grow and progress and move forward in life, I’ll try to do the same. That way, when the day comes that you fly away, I’ll hopefully be able to let go easily, to handle the flight, even just a little bit.
And I’ll always remember this day, with the freckles and the skinny arms and the buttons and be glad of it.
Katherine Center's video (in case you haven't seen it yet)