Five years ago today I saw my son for the first time, face to face. The nurse placed him on my chest and there are no words for the emotions I felt. Love. Pure unconditional love for this wrinkly, sticky baby who, a second later, started peeing in my face. If that isn't unconditional, then I don't know what is.
I can't believe my baby is five years old. I can't believe tomorrow is his last day of preschool and he starts kindergarten in the Fall. Everyone said it would happen like this. Everyone said that I should cherish every moment because they grow up so fast. I loved every moment of the baby stage, but I looked forward to every new milestone. I couldn't wait for the first smile. Finding the sweet dimples in his chubby cheeks. I remember his first laugh. It was on a changing table in the bathroom of Covenant College on Lookout Mountain. A deep guttural laugh from my tiny 2 month old boy whose name means "laughter." I remember the army crawl that I thought would never turn into a real baby crawl. But did. It seemed like time couldn't move fast enough.
Now his cheeks aren't chubby anymore and he's climbing trees. He's tall, he's smart, he's beautiful (he'd get mad at me for saying that). He's defiant. He's silly. He's encouraging. He's joyful. He has opinions of his own.
It's funny because when I was pregnant, I felt like he was a part of me. I felt like he could hear my thoughts toward him and knew what I was thinking. That continued after he was born. I know it's weird but I was actually shocked when he started showing his own personality and it was different from mine. He's was no longer an extension of me, but his own little person; completely separate.
He's certainly his own little man these days. He's not my baby anymore. I tell him that sometimes mommies need to hold their babies but he rarely lets me hold him. He's almost too heavy for me to carry but he never wants to be carried anymore anyway.
I'm so proud of him. He's so smart and (mostly) good. Why do we want our children to stay young; to go back to being a baby? Maybe because we need to be needed. As tiring as it was, I guess I loved being depended on so completely. Maybe I just loved holding my baby. Maybe because he used to talk like this on his second birthday:
Either way, he's five now and it went by way too fast. Yet, I still can't wait to see the next phase. I can't wait to see who this boy is going to be. But I love to reminisce about how he's come to be the boy he is now.