My youngest son turned 2 today. Two years ago today he changed my world for a second time in ways that I never dreamt possible. There is nothing quite like meeting the little life that you made after 9 long months of waiting to hold them. The first time you see their face, hold their hand and look into their eyes is nothing short of miraculous. There is absolutely nothing like it. I remember when my first son was born I cried and said to my mother as she came in to meet him, “I have never loved anyone this much.” She responded with a simple “I know” and wiped back tears. Before my youngest arrived I knew I would feel that way all over again the minute I got to hold him…and I did. Two years ago today I felt that overwhelming feeling of love, and great responsibility rush over me. Two years. Where does the time go?
I have to admit I am guilty of something, not only guilty but slightly ashamed of it. I am guilty of hitting the fast forward button. Yes that’s right the fast forward button. When I first brought each of the boys home I reveled in snuggle time, feeding time, diaper changing, cooing, and kissing and so on. Then reality hits you in the face like a big fat spatula and you are flipping Exhausted. So you (or at least I do) look for the fast forward button. You suddenly find yourself saying oh my god when will this baby sleep? When will my big fat kangaroo pooch go down? When will my boobs feel and look normal again? (Oh never that’s right!) When will I ever feel somewhat human again? (That’s debatable) I suddenly found myself wishing or looking forward to the next stage. Oh it will be so great when this little guy is sleeping for 3 hours at a clip. Then that happens. Oh it will be so great when he only needs to feed twice a night. (As you can figure out I do not do well under sleep deprivation circumstances)
Then come the milestones. It will be so much easier when he can crawl, stand, walk so he can keep up with his big brother. I can’t wait for teething to be over the poor kid is miserable (oh and not sleeping yet again). The list of things can go on and on and I said these things without even realizing that in doing so I was pushing a fast forward button. Please don’t think that I didn’t enjoy my babies first years because I did but as my youngest turns two today I am overwhelmed with many emotions and some of them have me wishing for a rewind button. You see in all likelihood the little guy is probably my last baby and I find myself wishing I could hold him one more time as a newborn, and sniff his hair as I rock him at 1am, and feed him while I know the rest of my neighborhood is fast asleep. I think I always thought we would have one more after him and now I’m left feeling like I didn’t appreciate our time as much as I should have. I feel myself wishing there had been a way to bottle up the sensation of lying in bed at night and feeling the life we had created kick inside of me. I wish I could hear the sound of that amazing heart beat through the fetal Doppler or watch in amazement as the ultrasound technician shows us our little baby swimming around.
I wish I had memorized everything about the moment the Dr. said “It’s a boy” and placed him on my chest for the first time. I wish I had spent more time enjoying the late night feedings instead of doing them one eyed all while dreaming about getting back into bed. I wish I could relive the first time he crawled, walked or said mama. The first time he reached up for me. I want to do it all again. I want just one day to rewind and relive all of it, but I can’t.
Then I realize that if I went back I wouldn’t be here with both of my boys how they are now and I don’t want to trade that. Okay some days I might, when they are fighting with each other and talking back to me and whining all day but I won’t. I’ll keep them how they are now and appreciate my days moving forward. I’ll take the good, the bad and the ugly with the two people who made me realize why I am here. They made me a mom the day they were born but they make me a better person every day.
The thing is I do have memories. I have them all. Memories are what define us as we go through life. Our past makes us who we are in our present which makes us who we want to be in our future. I remember all the details about holding each of them for the first time, and their big milestones and I know there were many times I sat with each of them at 1am and sniffed their baby shampooed heads and whispered I loved them. I did all of it and doing it over would only change who they are. So maybe it’s not really about doing it over but more about knowing I will never do it again.
I asked a dear friend one time how I would know when I was done having kids. She said it’s simple. You will look at your family one day and you will know if it’s complete. The thing about family is maybe it’s never really complete. There is always room for it to grow. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have more children of your own it means that family extends further than those under your own roof. Families grow every day. There is always room for more. There is room for nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends. I don’t know that families are ever really complete but rather a constant work in progress.
So today, on my beautiful boy’s birthday I looked at him and had memories of the baby days all come rushing back. I remembered all the details about the night I went into labor and I remembered the moment the Dr. told my husband and I that we had another boy. Then I listened to my two year old hold a complete conversation at the library with another mom and I beamed with pride. I watched him smile all day long and tell people he was two. I took him for a bagel and sat and we had a chat. I wouldn’t trade this stage for anything. That’s the thing I don’t really want a rewind button after all. I want to be right here in the present because here is a great place to be. As for the future, no one knows what that holds other than promise. The future is always filled with promise and that is something pretty awesome to look forward to.
Happy Birthday Buddy! Mommy got you this pause button with all my love. (Hey nothing wrong with a little pause every now and then)
Hold on to memories, they wind up being the story of your life.