Right now as I watch you sleep, I lean in so close I can feel your breath against my cheek. I think about the good moments today. I think about you touching my arm and telling me a story about a slug that you found by the water. I grin to myself alone in the dark. I think about our conversations and I realize how grown up you’re becoming.
How did it happen so fast?
You are perfect laying there so still; my heart swells like it might burst. Motherhood has made me so strong and so fragile at the same time. Since the day you were born, I’ve worn my heart on the outside of my body. Every day I fight against the urge to lasso the world and make it tame for you. I wish I could keep you in a bubble.
I wish I could keep you safe here with me forever, but I will use all my strength and I will give you wings instead, my love; then I will cry the day you use them.
You are growing up and sometimes I still see you as little. That’s frustrating for you, I know. I don’t trust you, even though it’s time.
I see it, but it can’t be. It was only one second ago that you crawled in my bed in the morning with just your diaper and we’d snuggle until the sun came up. It was only one second ago that you were sitting in your car seat behind me mimicking some choice words I shouted at traffic. It was only one second ago that I had a tiny crew and no one was taller than my waist; It was only one second ago.
Everyone warned me of how fast it goes, but it didn’t make me ready.
I am often caught up in the busyness. A mess in the kitchen, an email I haven’t written yet and a car that looks like a hurricane of crackers and juice ravaged the upholstery. There are meals to make, mountains of laundry to do, blankets needing to be soaked from a bloody nose last night -- and there is the constant inner struggle with feeling like it’s too much. I can’t catch up.
I don’t want to miss any moments with you, but I do.
As I look at you beneath the blankets I wonder how it is possible your legs are so long and your arms so lanky. We bought you deodorant the other day and you need it more than I do. When I think about the times to come I feel excited, but so so scared. I know I’m going to close my eyes for a moment and my time with you will be coming to a close.
I can’t even handle the thought, so I don’t think.
I reach out and squeeze your hand.
I understand that book now. I understand why an old lady would sneak into her son’s room at night.
I love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.
As long as I’m living, I will remember you curled up on my chest. As long as I’m living, I will cherish the moments of your chubby hand in mine. As long as I’m living ...
I know you won’t understand until you have your own kids someday and that’s okay. I didn’t understand either.
It is the greatest honor of my life to be your mom. You are truly a treasure that I’ve been entrusted with and I will never be the same. Your heart is so soft and tender, your eyes are bright and kind. You forgive me faster and love me harder than anyone I’ve ever met.
I’ve have been raised by raising you and I am so grateful.
Please stop growing; please keep growing.
Motherhood is constant grief and constant joy. It’s so much anticipation and so much letting go.
I love you forever and for always,
[This article originally appeared on Wonderoak]