Just before midnight, I pierced through my nail and into my other finger with a sewing needle. I yelled, it hurt, and after the blood stopped dripping from my finger, I was left with a hole…but not just through my finger.
Early this morning, as the Summer breeze from the bathroom window combined with the trickle of the shower to give me goosebumps, I held Baby Dragon close in the shower and felt tears, mingled with the warm water, silently roll, camouflaged, down my face.
Pretty little felt cookies for my boys to pretend to bake in their kitchen and serve to each other. The felty food Father Christmas kindly delivered two years ago has served its purpose well but the volume of Siberian husky hair it’s attracted to date told me that it was time to refresh and replenish the little white retro kitchen with new goods. As I never usually find the time to make things like this, it was a perfect opportunity to do so.
It was on account of these cookies that earlier this afternoon I scooped Our Little Adventurer from the sofa to get some cookie dough ice cream as a treat whilst Baby Dragon was napping. I carried him into the kitchen, his long legs dangling as we headed towards the freezer. As we walked, his little face turned to grin at me and I asked him how if he knew how much I loved him.
His ice-blue eyes met with mine as his smile ignited across his face, his lightly freckled nose crinkling up in delight. “Tell me, Momma” he demanded. “All” I replied. “All, Forever”. Little arms encircled my neck tightly as he whispered his love back to me, to tell me I’m his best girl (which melts my heart) and as we bent low to collect our frosty treasure, I bit my lip again to stop the hurting. My poor heart.
You see, the truth is, I don’t carry him around like I used to. He’s passed the constant cuddles stage, is fiercely independent and determined in everything he pursues. Sadly we don’t spend hours building noisy railroads and boggly-eyed Lego monsters and making rainbow macaroni necklaces the way we used to.
Our family has grown and most of our day is spent either trying to keep the newest and most fearless member of our family free from danger, clearing up the toy tsunami in our tiny living room and rubber-brooming the never-ending coat blowing efforts of our furkids from the play mat and sofa. The days are long yet the weeks fly by, and the balance of attention is usually tipped in Lyoto’s favour.
Sorrow crept silently into my afternoon not when I punctured my skin, but when I realised that the pastel cookies I was blistering myself cutting out were perfect for counting, colour sorting and of course our usual make believe role play. It struck me like a frying pan to the face. I had my teacher hat on because my precious first born was ready. I’ve known that for quite some time yet I’ve buried my head in the sand and tried to ignore the real life translation…he’s growing up.
The baby who transformed my life from ordinary to magical by making me into a Momma and us into a family is growing up. He’s about to spread his wings, and soar away to seek adventures…without my protection.
And I’m looking back and wondering if I gave enough.
I’m realising that those baby days, those newborn nights, the times when I sobbed, desperate from lack of sleep because he would settle with no one but me, when his intense need to be carried by me every second of the day, nestled close to me, attached to me, part of me, are gone. Those days that I stupidly willed to pass; the growth spurts whilst breastfeeding, the grisly months of teething…the days he just plain needed me because he still yearned to feel part of me…gone. And may never need me like that again. That loss hurts deeper than I ever imagined.
I know I frustrate my husband when if in the night Jensen should wake upset, I blatantly interrupt any attempt at comforting by my husband to try to lure his slight, sleepy and fretful body to my arms, to soothe him as I used to. I sing the same lullabies, rock the same patterns, whisper the same sweet dreams…and kiss the same flushed cheeks as he drifts back to dreamland. My heart is healed in the darkness as I repair my emotional wounds with the bandages of relief that it’s because of me, because he feels my love, that he is safe and settled once more.
My bright, beautiful boy is three and a half years old. In just over a year and a half he’s made the huge leap from sleeping next to me, from being the centre of my universe, to being a big brother. A big boy in a big boy bed who now shares my love with a boy who now sleeps in his place. Everything has been taken in his stride…but I’m stumbling.
Less than twelve months now stand between our precious, safe-and-snuggly-at-home baby years and his away-from-Momma-and-security school life. He is thrilled, and I’m terrified.
Not because he won’t deal with the new challenges; I know he’ll love meeting children and making friends, exploring his new territory and finding his strengths. Yet he’ll be without me,and I won’t know if he’s being treated well or listened to. I’m in partial denial of school. I don’t want to think about that time, those mornings when I have to drop him at the gates with a kiss and hope he’s happy until home time. At night, worry creeps into my mind like an evil spectre, and I lie awake, pent up tears stinging my nose.
How has this time come around?
Childhood is so fleeting and I’m so unsure. I dig deep into my soul as I stare into the inky blackness created by our blind, going over and over the same scenarios in my mind. Have I honestly prepared my son for everything that lies ahead? Have I loved him enough to have a strong sense of self? Will he be happy, will he be ready?
I’m know I’m not ready. I pray and hope he doesn’t sense it. Maybe as September looms next year I’ll be in a different place, and not feel the loss as greatly as I fear. Maybe his enthusiasm will banish my fears to the big bag of worries, never to be seen or heard of again in my head at night. Right now though, I’m ready to rub the genie’s lamp and make my wish. I want to hit the reset button, and once more cradle his tiny, needy body in my arms. Just to have him cling to me as tightly as he did in our beginning.
I know he’ll love the cookies. His face will explode with happiness as he instructs his little brother not to really eat the felty food and not to snatch them (because brother will, in true old fashioned cops and robbers style), and he’ll become the expert cafe owner as he places my creations ever so carefully into the bakery bags that his beloved Granny got from the shop because she knew he’d enjoy them.
My cookies are handmade with love. I’d make a thousand more and take a million painful fingers to make him happy…and to know he needs me still.
Go slow, Jensen Indiana. Momma’s heart isn’t ready to let you grow up…not just yet.