The first time I saw you after your sister was born there was a moment I didn’t expect. I wish someone had warned me, but they didn’t. It’s always easy to look back and wish for a warning; one that I probably wouldn’t have understood or heeded until I experienced it myself.
I wish someone had told me that once your sister arrived I wouldn’t see you as my baby anymore. I mean yes, in my heart, you will always be my baby. But there you were, all just-shy-a-day-of-21-months-old and your big head and heavy toddler steps were all big boy compared to the squishy little newborn I’d just met.
I just wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t prepared to tell my baby goodbye yet. As I sit here with my eyes and nose tingling the way they do as tears start to form, I realize how silly this might sound. After all, everyone was safe and healthy and nothing was really lost. You weren’t that different from the night before when I’d tucked you in bed not knowing it would be the last time to do that common yet sacred act before baby girl joined us.
And yet that was the hardest part for me. Feeling like I’d lost something I didn’t know I would lose and that I could never get back. You as my baby. You as my little squishy one. You were the only one, and so however big you may have been (notably a stocky and heavy almost-two-year-old) you were still the smallest child of mine and you felt like my little baby.
Maybe its better that these things happen with a bit of a surprise. Maybe I was better off without the warning. I didn’t make any fanfare out of putting you to bed that night before she came. It was normal, not especially memorable, and maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It was just us, not something we tried to make into something. It was just the reading, hugging, lights out, kisses routine that we’d settled into in your almost-21-months of life.
And again, little puddles fill the rims of my eyes daring to spill down my cheeks, as I think that maybe life will always be like this. Maybe you’ll always surprise me as you slowly yet suddenly move from one stage to the next without warning. I suppose every Momma knows the feeling. You change right before our eyes so subtly, little by little every day, and then a day comes when it feels like something changed overnight. You say a new word, you show affection in a new way, you express an opinion with more passion, you kick a ball with new skill, you like a new food or don’t like an old one, you recite part of the book we’re reading, and the list goes on.
But you know, Foxy boy, for whatever it feels may be lost as we move ever so naturally from one stage to the next, there is so much more gained. For the real treasure, my boy, is YOU. It’s always been you. Whatever phase, mood, age, season you’re in, the fact that it’s you is what matters. The fact that its those same clear blue eyes I’ve always stared in reminds me of what won’t ever change. You’ll always be you, and to quote Taylor Swift “you’re the only one of you, baby that’s the fun of you.”
And if this is a letter to you, then I’ll end it the way I feel I always end your notes and that treasured bedtime routine. “I love you.”
YOU. My boy, my baby, my son. I love YOU.