A few days ago, my daughter posted something on her Facebook wall that had me in tears from the first paragraph — the kind of tears that come from being so touched by something you’ve read that tears simply spring to your eyes. Sometimes we need reminders about what’s important in life, and this was that kind of reminder for me. Even though my own children are grown, some of them with little ones of their own, it’s good to remember. The lesson I take from this essay is to take time for those you love and cherish all the moments we get to have together.
My Sweet Boy
Written about my four-year-old grandson, by his mother, my daughter, Melanie. (Used with permission.)
Oh, my sweet boy. Tonight you wanted me to stay in your room with you “just a little bit”. So I did. I was tired, and it was way past what should have been your bedtime, but I stayed. We talked about how you can see the glow in the dark stars when the lights were out, and you proceeded to open the bedroom door anyway because you don’t like the dark. Then you told me to stop when I started humming Brahm’ s lullaby. You wanted the tractor song. I still haven’t figured out which song you mean by this, so I switched to John Taylor — Fire and Rain, Sweet Baby James, and You’ve Got a Friend (not their entirety, but you didn’t care). You got quiet and shifted around until you found your perfect side sleeper position (you get that from me). Then you drifted off to sleep like there’s nothing crazy going on in the world at all.
I sat there for a minute and just looked at you, my miracle baby, growing up too fast and finally still after a week of finding all the right buttons to push. It seems like just yesterday I was taking another pregnancy test, fully expecting it to be negative, and barely able to speak when there were two lines. I had finally made peace with my secondary infertility, and there you were. You changed everything. I soaked up as much of your newborn and baby stages as I could, knowing you’d be up and into everything before I knew what hit me.
You now live in wonder of the world, and in awe of Star Wars and superheroes. You love telling me the colors you see and singing Darth Vader’ s theme and ABC’s. You love trucks and cars with a passion and going to get the mail from the mailbox. You want to be just as big as your brothers and constantly ask if you’re bigger yet. You drive me crazy with your food pickiness (no crust, unless we’re at church; chicken nuggets must be cut in four, but not touching the BBQ sauce, just to start) and the fact that clothing must be changed if it gets at all wet. You are persistent in what you want though, and while that wears me out now, I hope it will serve you well later in life.
I’m not sure I’m ready.
All too soon, I know you’re not going to insist on hugs and kisses and nee nees (rubbing noses and chanting nee, nee) every time I go anywhere without you. Your face won’t light up with genuine excitement when I come back. You will stop just randomly coming up to me and saying, “Mom, I wub you,” and asking me what number the clock is or what letter is on the box you found. You won’t want me to hold you or snuggle, or help me cook dinner or do the dishes.
Eventually, you’ll be busy with school assignments and church activities. You’ll have friends that are the most important things in life. You’ll hopefully learn to cook and keep your penchant for cleaning and helping out. Too soon, you’ll be our last kid at home. You’ll be driving and going out with friends on the weekend. And one day, you’ll be old enough to leave and make your own way through life.
For that minute sitting there, listening to you breathe, watching you sleep, all of this hit me, and I wanted nothing more than to just freeze time for “just a little bit”. I’m not sure you have any idea how much I love you, or how much I want for you. I’m not sure any kid does. Some days it won’t seem like it to you, and you won’t be able to see it, but just like those glow in the dark stars, it will always show up when you’re in the dark. And it will stay with you, even when I’ve left your room.