Last night you rebuffed your bedtime. Our tried and true bath, book, bed routine would not appease you like it normally does. My tired eyed toddler. We brought you downstairs, turned off the lights, let you watch half an inning of baseball before you fell asleep tucked between us on the couch. We were tempted to stay there with you, curl ourselves around you to sleep next to the calm metered rise and fall of your chest. Instead I carried you to your crib, because two years of you have taught me that you’re happier sleeping alone, stretching and moving without our bodies as borders. But those minutes we laid there contemplating the decision were golden. You will never know how much we marvel at your being. It’s there in every sun kissed strand of hair we brush back so carefully, every long dark eyelash we watch flutter in sleep; cherish is too frail a word for our devotion.
At two you are my buddy. My happy guy who loves nothing more than to play with me. I try to oblige as much as I can, pushing everything else off my plate so I can give you the majority of my attention on the short hours we have together. Weeknights I try to do nothing more than feed us and still that’s sometimes too much for you. “Mommy sit!” you say, crying into my pant leg. I spend my evenings on the floor with you, playing with cars, being a chair, tickling you silly. I am acutely aware how small a window we have for these games. Soon you won’t need me to tell you the names of all the animals or the colors of the blocks. Soon you won’t want to sit on my lap for an umpteenth viewing of Winnie the Pooh. I have to collect all these memories while I can, before the winds change and you’re off to the next thing. I am reminded of this every time you brush away my kisses. It’s ok, I think, I smothered you in kisses so much when you were a baby I’m surprised your cheeks never chapped.
That’s hard for me to grasp-the fact that you are no longer a baby. You’re my little boy now. I think of it like flying a kite. I carried you close for so long, waiting for the breeze to blow, and now you’re taking flight and I’m letting out the string a little a time. You’ll continue to go up and away from me. That’s the point of this. It’s my job to let you fly on your own, but please know that I will always hold tight as the wind gusts, try to steer you away from danger, and be your anchor to the earth.
I know that I am lucky. You have been and are still an easy child. You love being outside, baseball, matchbox cars, animals and vehicles of all kinds. You’re super inquisitive and always asking “what’s that?” You’re learning your colors and starting to get the hang of numbers. You love chocolate and ice pops, and you’re too smart for me to get away with telling you we’re out. Thank god for gummy vitamins. Lately you’ve had a rough go of things at bed time. You’ll fall asleep in our arms and scream as soon as we move to transfer you to the crib. There have been many changes in your little world, and I understand you’re having trouble dealing with them all. A week away from home for the first time ended with a shock to your schedule. My job change has me leaving earlier and coming home later and you’re being transitioned into a new room at daycare. There have been many tears. I think you crave our presence, the consistency of us, and while I am nervous I’m creating a problem by giving in, I can’t deny you that right now. If falling asleep to the blare of a baseball game in between your two safe people is what you need right now, that’s what you’ll get. At least for a week or two, until you get your bearings. Please get them soon.
Two is full of temper and tears, it’s true, but it’s also full of tenderness; the hugs and kisses are plentiful, the joy abounds.
Happy Birthday, sweet boy. Mama loves you.