My son turns four today.
I know that someday, he will be too old to sit in my lap, or cuddle me in bed. I know that one day, he will be more independent, driving to places on his own, spurning my affection.
The other day I was napping in my bed, and he came in to wake me up. As he cuddled into me, he said, “It smells wonderful in here.” It’s something I remember myself, how your mother smells so familiar and comforting. The human equivalent of baking cookies and a fire in the fireplace.
Things I want to remember: How he constructs sentences. “I’d like an apple or snack of some sort.” How he makes his toys talk. How he pretends to be a female puppy named pumpkin, and announces her arrival with “Pumpkin is here.”
This morning, he was so excited for his birthday that he could not sit still. He bounced all day long.
Next week we are taking him to the beach. I can’t wait to show him the ocean.
I was thinking the other day of my sister. She lives close to our family. She has support when she needs it. Someone is able to watch the kids, drop them off, and watch them for weekends at a time (have enough familiarity with an external family member that this sort of thing would be okay).
I live far away from any family. They visit a few times a year. They skype with us every few months.
It’s so interesting because becoming a mother, for me, was a lot like being encouraged to jump off a cliff. Everyone’s telling you to do it and that things will be fine. So I did it. And then I was left alone to pick up the mangled remains, to heal myself.
I wish I could go back to that woman in the first year, and hold the baby while he cried for her. I would let her go out on the weekend once in awhile. I would hold her while she sobbed. We had no community. We still don’t. And that’s partially our fault. We don’t engage in it, we like our privacy. We like being out of the drama.
It seems like all my big life events were tragedies. My wedding was too hard to enjoy. The birth of my son was overshadowed by sorrow and neurosis. My graduation from graduate school was an afterthought. I have no life events left to ruin. But I also don’t have any to look forward to.