And so my babe turned three.
I lay down next to him in the dark, and his skinny little boy-child arm wraps around my neck. He snuggles close and talks of birthdays and trains and balloons and being three. And I close my eyes and remember laying snuggled in the dark three years ago this night, a new baby bundle in my arms, my heart full to exploding.
Is it okay that tears slip down my cheek on this, the happiest day of the year for my little man?
I think back to his other birthday celebrations, days marking the passage of time, precious time. Little babe turned to toddler turned to boy, all clear memories. And I know that someday, the string of birthdays will all blur a bit, and I’ll lose track of a year here and there. His days won’t all fit inside the small treasure box of his mama’s memory. There will be too many days, too many details — and then, so soon, there will be days lived apart from me altogether.
It’s okay that tears slip down, isn’t it?
Because I love this boy, this first babe. And the days go just as fast as they said they would, even the long ones. Sometimes I’m so busy hanging on to patience and kindness and being awake that I find I’ve missed a day with this boy. You know? Sometimes I think of what these days need to add up to, and I want to panic, looking at the pathetic attempts I make at meaningful investment. How can this string of plain old days make an impact, make a man?
So yes, he turned three, and as I lay there in the dark with a baby bundle turned boy-child, I remember again that He turns these fleeting moments, these feeble attempts, into heritage, foundation, and destiny. That’s His job. And me?
I’ll just keep loving this boy.
Things to love:
— the way he trips along, seldom slowing down enough to walk
— how he never wants to play alone; he always wants me with him
— his excitement about cooking with me, every day (and all day, if I would let him!)
— listening to him try out his singing skills on his own, figuring out words, trying to remember melodies…
— the belly laughs when he and William are being silly together. How he said the other day, as he hugged [or mauled] William, “William my fwend, Mama.”
— thank yous. All day long, for a million little things. He notices, and he says thank you. “Dat taste good, Mama. Thank you!” “Dat looks nice, Mama. Thank you!” “Dat was fun, Mama. Thank you!” “These nice pj’s, Mama. Thank you!” You’re welcome, little boy.