It happened just a few days ago, I swear: I woke up and my baby, my mine, had officially become a Little Man.
No longer is he this…
but he’s this:
In the blink of an eye – in 100-400 milliseconds, according to Google – he’s begun toddling and waddling around the house, my very own tipsy little sailor swaying side to side, step by step. His pudgy baby cheeks have been replaced by thinner and more defined cheekbones, Little Caramel emulating more recognizable traits of his daddy’s racial heritage.
Be still my heart.
His hands are sticky all the time, and from what, I’m really not quite sure (although I’d venture a guess that it has something to do with his profound fascination of garbage cans, toilet bowls, toilet seats and the diaper pail, in general). His feet are always, ever dirty, which obviously has nothing to do with the state of our hardwood floors, and his poop has long since carried with it the faint newborn scent of buttery popcorn – for Lord, he stinketh.
He’s dropping his morning nap – at least, according to the sleeping adventures (or lack thereof) of the last week or so – and this dynamic, far-from-linear child is climbing up on couches while flinging himself fearlessly toward the ground just seconds later. He’s a skydiver in training, and I’m just hoping he remembers to pull, or at least reach for, the safety cord.
He’s squawking and grunting and speaking new syllables every day, tongue darting in and out of his mouth like an 11-year-old tween practicing the art of kissing on her pillow. He’s rounding the dining room table, one time, two times, three times more, a fast-talking Clint Eastwood, exaggerated waddle of a cowboy-swagger his signature stride in the 11th lap that morning.
As a mama, as a parent, I heave a big sigh and I smile a big smile. I pick him up and I squeeze him tightly, and I whisper, Mine, Mine, as I kiss him over and over again. I lean into the moment, I embrace the tension, I marvel in the miracle of the everyday. I let myself wear my sappy hat for a few minutes if need be, because I’m a mama, and oozy, drippy sap is part and parcel of the outfit I sport.
And then when it’s hard – because it’s tiresome and thankless and monotonous, a lot – I put on my Big Girl Panties. When Cancan is having a Sleepless in San Francisco week [see: the past week and a half], I give myself a pat on the back and I whisper sweet nothings to myself because, Lovely, This Too Shall Pass. I make the HBH hug me and hold me for a couple of extra seconds each evening, and then over margaritas with a girlfriend, we clink glasses, and with sparkly, teary, knowing eyes, say to each other, You got this, you got this. I pray to the One who gives me strength, because sometimes when it’s really, really hard, I don’t know how to keep going on my own (and quite frankly, it’s pretty freeing to admit this truth).
And before I know it, a new day is dawning, a minor resurrection of sorts and in mercy and in grace, I’m given a whole new chance.
So I utter my help-thanks-wow’s*: thank you, God, for this little miracle-man, for the past and the present and the future. Thank you for the beautiful, messy, lovely here and now, and for my waddley, toddley miniature Clint Eastwood of a son.
Thank you for my mine.
What about you? What do you say help-thanks-wow for today?
* = Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow