Thursday, March 10, 2011

Grab on

Dear "L",

Inexplicably, you turn four today. You are, and always will be, the baby of the family. I still remember the moment when I figured that out. I had been on the phone with my nurse-midwife, discussing a pregnancy-related problem. When I hung up, I knew that you would be my final child. It was bittersweet.

Three weeks before your due date, during a major snowstorm, I slipped and fell hard in the snow. Contractions started that evening, and we had to dodge black ice on the way to the hospital. The car clung to the pavement as my husband veered between the desire to move faster and the desire to be safe.

You were born a few hours later, and I wrapped my arms around your tiny body. I held on to every small experience, knowing that each would be the last of its kind for me. I tried so hard not to be sad, but to celebrate. Sometimes I was successful, others I was not.

For the first week of your life I slept with your little hospital cap under my pillow. I gripped it tightly in my hand and wept as I fell asleep (if only for a couple of hours!) No one knew of my sadness or the nature of it, for I was also joyful that my pregnancy was over.

You grew and I learned to accept the fact that the infant stages were falling behind me permanently. I found peace when I reminded myself that the pregnancy, labor, sleepless nights, billions of diapers, incredible loads of laundry, and all else would be over too. I was learning to let go.

Then you grew a lovely head of bright blond hair. It was a treasure to me; a signal that you were different from your brothers. I chose to trim your hair in a bowl-cut style; whimsical, like the overalls that I loved to dress you in.

That hair was a constant reminder that you were growing, because it started to darken. I was in denial that the color would ever change (though I knew you were, indeed, the son of dark-haired parents.) I would trim the tiniest bit possible from the front, just enough so you could see again. The day that I took you in for a real haircut and I allowed the barber to chop off the last bit of blond was so very hard.

You are wonderful at affection. You give the best hugs, holding on far past your peers. You kiss me all over my face and declare, "I wuff you so much, mommy!" You are such a part of my life.

And here you are, four years old. You started preschool last week. And although you were so ready to be a big boy and go to school, you had to double-check with me, one last time. As I prepared to leave you in your classroom, you turned and asked,

"And you'll be right back, mommy?"

Always.

1 comment:

Tracie said...

Sob! We all need a snuggler! I told McKay he could keep growing up as long as he still snuggled like he does so well. So now I'm curious about what those couple of free hours look like for you now??