He read to me. Yesterday, before nap, he picked a book off of his bookshelf and read. I stared at him. His cowlic, just as swirly as it was when we could see it before his hair even came in. His eyelashes, as thick and lengthy as they were at six months old. And his eyes, as brown as they’ve been since the color defined itself. I listened to him as he sounded out the word teamwork and looked up at me for approval and I wanted to scoop him up, snuggle him in my lap, put his face in between my hands, and just stare at him for awhile. I don’t know how I missed it. But I wanted, desperately, to figure it out. Figure out when this happened. When he grew up.
I know, for certain, it wasn’t upon birth. The moment we knew he weighed in at 4 lbs 9 oz fresh out of the oven.
And I know it didn’t happen in the first 5 months of life, when he was basically failing to thrive. When he truly, madly, deeply, screamed for more than four hours of every day. And so many moments felt touch and go.
And I don’t believe it happened at 10 months, when we planned to start sleep training and he magically started sleeping through the night, no longer needing my companionship from dusk until dawn.
I don’t think it was at a year, when he had his first taste of sugar after I shoved his hand into his birthday cake.
Or when, at 17 months, I went back to work and after a few months with a nanny, he began daycare. He definitely didn’t seem older then. In fact, he seemed even smaller than I’d thought as we dropped him off with the other kids his age that were, at the time, a head taller than he could be on his tiptoes.
And it most certainly was not at 21 months when his favorite past time was lining up toys all day. From the kitchen. To the great room. From the kitchen. To the great room. And again. And again.
I don’t remember it being at age 2, when he was obsessed with Mickey Mouse. And he said words like yesternight and called his grandpas pop pop.
It very well could have been at almost two and a half, when we welcomed his first brother into the fold. And he walked into the hospital room looking as though he’d doubled in size since my delivery. And when he started having royal tantrums in the first few weeks that followed the arrival.
And I suppose it even could have happened two months after that when he started attending pre-school and making his own friends.
And then when he was three and was adamant that he have a pirate party. It maybe could have been then.
But then he still seemed like a wee one that fall when two of my nephews headed off to Kindergarten. That moment for him seemed decades away.
And he still seemed tiny later that fall when he was hoisted up on his daddy’s shoulders to walk back to the car from a Husker game.
But it very well could have happened over night between the last day of three and the first day of four. The age where he started laughing a little at the word fart. And the Lego obsession took shape.
And perhaps it was at four and a half when he declared his intentions to marry the neighbor girl.
But I think, five might have sealed the deal. When five came calling and we could start entertaining buying clothes out of the toddler section, I think that could have been when it happened.
When he grew up.
And now, now he’s off to Kindergarten so soon. And it occurs to me that things will never be like this again. Because it won’t just be the four of us at home most days. We are headed to a new normal. One that I begged for when he screamed, incessantly from birth until his belly stopped aching. One that I hoped for at many moments during the terrible twos. One that I even begged to survive until when this summer began. One that, now upon us, I want to hold out my hands and push with all my might against the calendar to keep it from flipping one. more. page. One more day.
There are many moments that I am very content having part of his past. Hours, days, months, and sleepless nights that if they only existed without the good stuff, I would never want to revisit again. And because of that, I don’t feel like I’ve wished any of it away. But for this moment, I want to take his face in my hands and memorize exactly how it feels to see him so innocent. So joyful. And so him. But I don’t. Instead. I just swallow the lump in my throat, and tell him, you’re awesome, B. Good reading.
I don’t know when he grew into this person that he is but I find myself amazed, daily, that life works like this. That the five years… the years that in all truth, were really hard, and really lovely, and really stressful, and really tiring… that those years are just the beginning. Just his beginning. And that he has so much more to become. If we’re lucky.
When did he get so big? I just don’t know. But I feel so happy he did.
|Photo Credit: PamAndie Photography|