Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Late Night Conversation

Isaiah and I had an exchange the other night that brought me to tears. One of my new fears is losing the precious bond I feel with my boys as they grow older. The dreaded having to let them go. You ask why I worry about such things when they are only seven months old? I know, I know. It's just how these relationships are growing, all the love in these moments that I am privileged to share.

It was another late night affair, and I had just finished pumping and was on my way to the fridge to put the milk away when I heard little sounds from their bedroom.

"Dang!" I find myself thinking.

Returning to our bedroom, I prepare for bed by brushing my teeth and putting last minute things away, all the while hoping that it was just a quick sound and that sleep would overcome once again.

Not so.

As I enter their bedroom, I see that Isaiah has pulled the crib bumper away from the side of the crib and holding it with his hands, looking out toward the door. (This is a new thing of his and it cracks me up.)

Peering over the edge, he breaks into the wide smiles you've already heard about. It melts me every time. (I just can't help it.)

Bringing him in the bedroom, I lay down and snuggled him in next to me. Usually when we lay down he'll immediately snuggle in and his eyelids will start to droop, almost as if he just needs to reassure himself that you're still there, and he quickly yields to sleep.

This night? Not so.

The whole room was quiet. Scott was asleep. I had my arm around Isaiah, both of us on our sides, turned in toward each other. I gave him his Soothie, expecting him to start to nod off. What followed was precious. Almost like we shared dialogue, so strong it really felt like he was talking to me.

I looked down at him and into his eyes. He stared at me without smiling, but instead with soft, quiet eyes for about twenty minutes, accompanied only by the bob-bob-bob of his binkie. I found myself thinking about how special this was, and then thinking about my dreaded fear of loving these kids so much and letting them go and filling that void when the time comes. Afraid of not feeling needed, of feeling left behind as they go on to pursue their lives. It has crossed my mind since becoming a mother that I never knew what my own mother did for me until becoming one. How many hours of sacrifice and exhaustion she endured -- even in just the daily pleasures that you took for granted all the time. I do need to say that I don't regret this life change for even a single second. The flip side of the exhaustion, sacrifice, emotional roller coaster is, for me, an incredible world of peace and love and purpose that I've never felt before. I feel at home in my own skin, in the role that I assume each day. But I guess with this realization of the all-encompassingness of motherhood, maybe you could say I've felt a wee bit of selfishness in having such tight bonds and knowing that I have to give them away one day. (Ironic, I know, because ask me if I want my children, adult children, to live with me for the rest of their lives and I'd say no. I want them to have what I have, too, and to live and love and learn and grow.) Do any of you moms ever feel this?

These are the thoughts that were swirling in my head as I held him close to me. Then, I looked down at him.

Big, BIG, blue eyes stared back at me. Bob-bob-bob.

But it was his face that struck me. His eyes were so quiet, so concerned, as if he knew exactly what I was thinking and he responded so sensitively. The words came to my mind as quietly, but clear and penetrating.

He understood, such a giant spirit in that little body, and tears came to my eyes as I felt that love and gratitude reciprocated in this small phrase:

"I'll always love you, Mom."

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