Tuesday, January 15, 2019

10 years a mother.

Life as a parent moves at an unrivaled pace.

I assume it's because the flurry of activity involved in raising little ones distracts us from the passage of time, but I'm just guessing. I often find myself shocked and disoriented by how quickly things happen, and I know that's already a "thing". Experienced parents always tell new ones to soak in every second because it goes by too fast. But even when you know that, it's impossible to bottle it up. They grow and change and evolve in microscopic pieces every single day. There's no stopping, pausing, or controlling it.

And I can hardly believe that I've been watching it unfold for a decade now.

Motherhood surprises you like that. There's all these milestones along that way that you don't expect or predict, and then they arrive and you're taken back by their intensity. Like the nights I cried as each one of my babies stopped nursing. Or the night Jake (my youngest) decided to take showers instead of baths and I knew that was the end of babyhood in our house.

I didn't know that as my first baby turned ten, I would be mourning the end of his littleness. On this very day, he rounds the curve to tweenhood, and then teenhood, and then adulthood. In less time than he's now been alive, he will be an adult. An ADULT! My sweet, chubby, 9lb 5oz baby boy with the fluffiest cheeks in history will be a man in the blink of an eye. It's heartbreaking.

And at the same time, it's an immensely prideful experience to watch your baby become himself.

I mean....we did it. His first formative decade - the years that he will look back on as his "childhood" were pretty darn successful. He is kind-hearted, funny, and a great student. He's creative, smart, empathetic, and thoughtful. We created traditions, made memories, and got to know each other in a deep way. And it all carries a sense of monumental importance. This past decade has been about growth, learning, loving, and creating - in ways I couldn't fathom before Luke. It's been more gorgeous than I could ever put into words.

But him. How was there never a him? How was there a part of my life that had no Luke in it? It doesn't seem possible. Because these 10 years defined me as much as they defined his brand new person-hood. I am more me than I've ever been, because of his existence.

And I know it's orchestrated that way. Our souls are in on it. It just makes me want to cry in its gorgeousness.

On this day ten years ago, I sat in a chilly hospital room in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was an uncharacteristically cold day, and snow fell outside our window (which almost never happened). Snuggled in my arms was a warm, peaceful little person that I had only just met. And on the hospital room TV was news coverage of the Miracle on the Hudson, which happened only hours after Luke came into the world. It was a day of miracles, to be sure.

And the thing I most remember thinking was, "There you are. Of course it's you."

I was always in awe of Luke - which I'm sure is typical of every first time parent. I'm not unique in thinking that it's absolutely wild that you can grow a person with your body and then they learn to do things like walk and talk and smile and laugh and show other people love. But it was (and still is) the great joy of my life to watch it unfold.

The days can be hard, and I can fall into phases of frustration and helplessness like any parent can attest to. But it doesn't change the fact that being a mom was my dream - truly, the only one. And Luke is the one who made it come true. It was a profound moment, the first time I saw his face. My whole life felt like it suddenly had a purpose. It all made sense in an instant.

I just have the hardest time believing that this intense moment is now a decade away, because it still feels like it was 5 minutes ago.

The proof sits across from me at dinner every night, though. He smiles his familiar smile (the one that looks like mine) as he tells me his grand ideas for a new game or fun thing we can do together. He speaks eloquently for his age (one of the compliments he gets most often from adults, second only to how sweet he is towards babies), which is further evidence that he is not just moments old.

But I think the most disorienting part of it all, is how it feels both like we've only just met and that we've known each other forever. Motherhood is funny like that.

This next decade with Luke will be a very, very different one from the last. A bittersweet one. A hard one. I can only hope it amazes me as much as the previous ten years have.

In a post I wrote about him a few birthdays ago, I said this about Luke and our relationship.

"Lukas was my first foray into motherhood and unconditional love. I made my mistakes with him as we learned how to do this life thing together, but the experience of mothering Luke is what gave me the gift of opening my heart to the little loves that have joined us since. He is so, so special to me. 
Luke's heart is a lot like mine. It is creative, dreamy, imaginative, anxious, hesitant, and big. He is fearful of the world in general, but has a fierce commitment to the people that never let him down. He is hard on himself, but he has big dreams. Mothering him is a mirror into myself, which makes our relationship incredibly special and challenging."

And I can only imagine what that will look like in these next ten years.

Today is a special day, for an incredibly special little guy, who has no clue how special he truly is - despite being told nearly every day of his life. And on this tenth anniversary of the miracle that is him, I'm thinking of what it means to be gifted the honor of watching a baby become a person that is capable of incredible things.

Happy, Happiest Birthday to my sweet Lukas James.

- - -

Join the Enrychment Newsletter

1 comment: