|My always-up-to-something, goofy, moody, loving, wonderful little 4-year-old.|
I'm just going to lay it out there. This post is unabashedly and unapologetically mushy, sentimental, and maybe a little saccharin, but it's either this or subjecting my "baby" to an uncomfortably intense snuggling session so that I might internalize the essence of being in his 4-year-old presence forever. And I don't think anyone wants to see that happen. I've already been relegated to planting kisses only on his clothes or hair, because my kisses are "too much kisses," which is really just a polite way to say I'm a slobbering troglodyte when it comes to expressing my affection. I can't face that rejection so early in the day.
So here's the deal. My youngest is about to turn 5 and I'm having an unexpected little freak out about this whole situation. We won't have "little kids" in our house anymore! Panic! I'm accustomed to little kids by now. I'm comfortable in little kid land, where I'm very much in charge, and where my children adore me and call me things like "Bubblegum Mommy Cutie Pie Princess of the West." I've become accustomed to my princess lifestyle and I do not want to give it up.
I am not ready to move past the stage where I can scoop him up like a medium-sized dog and feel his hot breath on my chest when he snuggles up on my lap, or the flutter of his soft, enviably-long eyelashes on my cheek while he whispers inane secrets to me about a duck in the mailbox.
I am not ready for the day when he tells me, hopefully gingerly, to stop calling him "baby" or when the two of them will huddle in conspiratorial whispers about what an out-of-touch, goofy old lady I've become.
I'm certainly not ready for the day one of them gets a girlfriend, life partner, spouse, personal goldfish or car! I think I'm getting the spins here. It's all too much.
I know, I know. It will all be okay. And I am incredibly lucky to have two healthy, goofy, loving little boys who are proving every day how kind, smart, and engaged they are becoming. It's a very good life. I just didn't expect this lurch in my chest as my baby crosses the invisible bridge between the land of Dora and tricycles and the one where he'll need deodorant in a few short years.
Today, though, I will sneak a sniff of his little blond head as I help him get untwisted when he tries to take off his pajama shirt.
Today I will sit on my hands while he makes his own peanut butter sandwich for lunch, even when he wipes the knife on his shorts and there's more peanut butter on the table than the bread.
Today I will maintain something between a grimace and a smile when he's on his 13th successive knock-knock joke with no punch line.
Today I will scoop him up from behind, and delight in his squeal of surprise. I will twirl him around and sing into his ear while we dance to "Long Gone Daddy," and I will try hard to memorize all of it. The size of his little warm body in my arms. His weird little boy smell. The way he says "we're" instead of "our," and how he always says thank you with such genuine sincerity whenever I make him pancakes or skeptically hand over the kid scissors.
I will remember that at 4, he loved smoked salmon and hated watermelon, and that he sometimes had to put one of his three baby dolls, Tom, Craigslist, and Cabba, in time out for breaking the rules.
I will remember how much he loved dancing and singing, and how he did both with exuberance, every single time.
I will remember that above all, he really just wanted to be exactly like his big brother, and that being with his mommy and daddy, grandparents, uncles and aunt made him happier than anything else in the world.
And even when he is faced with navigating the sometimes excruciating process of growing up, and it makes him angry and confused, I vow to remember the way his tiny hand fit inside mine when he was 4, and how he once reached for me instinctively whenever he was worried. And I'll hope that he will carry our pure, eternal love for him in his heart, and that it helps when the world shows its claws now and then.
And I will watch this video, and many others like it, and smile, laugh, and probably cry like a sentimental mommy is meant to cry at a time like that. Because despite being "mine," my little David is his own little person, and it's a gift to be able to be a part of his growing up. I will miss this part so much, but I'm so excited to see what tomorrow brings, too. Did I mention that part about how grateful I am for this awesome life?