Just yesterday the nurse handed me that tiny 7 lb 5 oz bundle of blonde-haired baby boy, 6 days early and an unexpected C-section leaving me reeling but also madly in love. Just yesterday. A yesterday they tell me was 15.67 years ago and I don’t know how we skipped over so much time. I don’t even remember you losing your first tooth, or your first haircut. I don’t remember the first time you cried so hard my heart cracked in two, or the first time you “helped” me make dinner. It all felt so insignificant at the time, but now I want to turn back the clock and write down every little detail, complete with full-colour illustrations. I want to press into every mundane moment and play it all at half-speed this time.
Oh, baby boy. Is it ok if I call you my baby when you tower over me at 6’2″ and your voice rumbles with a bass that still catches me by surprise? When I get you to grab the muffin pan from above the fridge because you can reach it now, and I can’t? You will forever be my baby, but I’m losing my grip and my
They didn’t tell me that in the hospital. How I would grieve the healthy development and independence of my child. How it would physically hurt when you outgrew me as your protector and provider. That you would have big ideas and thoughts that make my heart burst with pride, and arguments that make me want to fling something heavy across the room. That
Before you, I never knew that a single black hoodie could be an entire wardrobe, or that so much junk food could be hidden in an 8×10′ room.
You have been such a surprise and delight, my son. You were new to this earth and we were so new to parenting. Your dad and I have talked about how we were such harsh perfectionists when you were tiny. We’re so deeply sorry, and yet we only worked with what we knew. We forgive our past selves for that and we hope you will too.
I also hope that I can pass on a few things that I’ve learned. You will make mistakes too. Big ones. Ones that are not fixed with a Band-Aid or a few stitches. Ones that “I’m sorry” won’t come close to repairing. When it happens, I hope you’ll remember the most important things: grace for yourself and others, authenticity, and the humility to ask for forgiveness.
I want to turn back the clock and spend more time teaching you these things, and less time teaching you how to load the dishwasher correctly. I want to hit pause and read just a few more hours of One Fish, Two Fish.
For now? I’ll happily settle for the moments we have. I’ll soak up the awkward side-hugs and dark humour and the incessant snacking. I’ll forever treasure the late nights when you entrust me with your stories of school and work and relationships. I’ll let you play that music you love, even if I don’t understand it.
I will fight to the death for you, you know. You are so very very loved, my baby boy.