Everyone warns you that it goes so fast. They lie. It goes in spurts. Some nights are so long that you wish you could go to sleep and just not wake up. Some days are so awful that you wonder about your fitness for motherhood. But those nights and those days make up such a small percentage. The majority of your time is spent in ordinary days. Doing laundry, dusting yet again, cleaning another mess, changing another set of sheets, cooking another meal, drawing another picture, reading Llama Llama one more time.
In the midst of all that, there are moments of such transcendent beauty that your heart swells so much that you are sure your ribs will crack. Moments so awe inspiring that you want everything to stop, so you can smell the back of the baby’s neck forever, that you can watch little brothers in their school uniforms walking hand in hand into the gates just one more time. You take pictures furiously, you write down everything they say on a calendar, you hope you remember.
Right now: My youngest son has lived on three continents, and spoken four languages. He is gregarious, an absolute flirt, and a huge hit with his older brother’s female classmates (much to the disgust of said brother.)
I can tell you he is vegetarian most days, will eat pasta until we worry that he’ll explode, loves fruit, his brother, Pokoyo, and Llama Llama. He sings and dances constantly, especially to that awful song Chu Chu Wa. He is mischievous, and knows just how to make his brother laugh (and cry.) His Spanish is much better than mine, and better than his English now. He loves drawing and painting, and is never without a car or truck. His greatest joy is “driving” daddy’s jeep.
None of that explains him as well as this story:
One recent morning, he wanted to help me wash the dishes. My husband and I left our wine glasses and a coffee cup in the sink the night before. At five on a Saturday morning, John carried his step stool to the kitchen, got a hold of the dish soap, and started the water, all standing on tippy toes. From our bedroom in the back of the house, the first indication I had of a situation about to go wrong was the tinkling of wine glasses. I ran to the kitchen, half asleep, to find my little guy in his PJs and bare feet surrounded by broken glass. “Boken! Boken!” he yelled with urgency. Then he reached to hug me. “I help you mamma.”
I can never forget what might have been. But I know in this life there are no guarantees, and I am deeply aware of what a miracle this little boy is. The years may go to fast, but the love lasts an eternity.
My little guy on the gratitude list in 2012: He’s nine months old.