It feels like yesterday when I first met you, peering down over my still round yet quickly deflating belly, the same belly that held you carefully for 9 months. My legs were raised in the stir ups as Jan, our midwife, held you high so I could see your tiny arms and legs extending for the very first time.
And all I could say was, “I love him so much!” – my first words to you.
I never imagined having a little boy. Growing up in a family where the estrogen ran high I was unsure of how I was going to handle the nonstop energy of the opposite gender. Two years later I’m still scratching my head trying to figure you out. You’re loud, you like to believe you can jump from any height, you’re already talking about poop and calling everyone “poop”, I’m finding rocks in the laundry that you’ve collected in your pockets, and you always want to wrestle.
“You’re such a boy!” I yelled out one day after you came inside covered in mud. As I stripped you down to your diaper at the door I immediately contemplated how much Oxyclean solution I was going to have to use in order to remove all the stains.
“You can’t say that like it’s a bad thing,” your father called out to me from the other room.
He was right. You are a boy, and that is the most wonderful thing. You’re going to get dirty, you’re going to think farts and pooping are funny, you’re going to hide rocks in your pockets, and you’re going to see how high you can jump off the playground. You may even break a few bones along the way. And that is great.
You know what else I’m learning about boys through you though? You love to cuddle and you love your mama.
While you were still in my belly I prayed you would come out as a baby who didn’t want to ever be put down. I should have listened to the old saying, “be careful what you wish for”, because I got exactly that. The months after we brought you home tested my strength as a mother and my faith in God. Most nights were spent nursing you, snuggling you, and burping you, not to mention sleeping in an upright position with you on my chest to help with your reflux. You didn’t finally sleep through the night until after your first year. Many days I regretted saying that prayer for a cuddly baby.
But it has paid off.
As you’ve grown older and been sleeping through the night regularly, your desire to cuddle hasn’t faded. When we read together you don’t pull away to sit by yourself. You always choose my lap as your go-to seat. When you’re sad you don’t run off licking your wounds by yourself. Instead you reach up, arms open wide, saying, “hug, hug.” And my favorite part about all of this is when you get hurt the first person you call out for is mama.
I don’t ever take this lightly.
And do you know why?
Because I won’t always be the one you call out for. There will be someone else someday who you’ll choose over me to cuddle with, to hug when you’re feeling sad, to call out to when you need to be comforted. And I’ll have to be OK with that.
Lately it’s been more of a challenge to carry you around, to hold you when you reach your little arms up to me. It’s because of your baby brother growing inside of me. My arms get tired, my belly contracts as it’s nudged by your knees wrapping around me. I ask if you would rather be held by your father and all you say is, “Mama, hold you.”
“Ok, buddy,” I say because I remember I won’t always be your favorite person. There will be someone else.
So in these moments when my arms are tired and my belly contracts more than it should and a part of me just wants a moment alone I’m going to endure and hold you for as long as I can take it.
I love you my sweet, cuddly boy, more than you’ll ever know,