I often said to The Boy, my first-born, “You’ll always be my baby.” He very sweetly indulges me in this dialogue that usually ends with a snuggle and a kiss. Of course The Boy isn’t a baby anymore. He’s off to kindergarten today, and his baby days feel a million years ago. So I ask you to please indulge me–the nostalgic mama–as I reminisce on this milestone of a day.
Five years and one day ago The Boy arrived in grand style during Hurricane Irene. He was 17 days early, and his daddy and I did not feel ready at all. In fact, not knowing that hurricanes can make you go into labor, we hadn’t even gotten the nursery fully ready. (Big surprise–not!–I blogged about it in “A Beautiful Life is Born.” Seems I was a little more leery of posting pictures then…still cautious now but more open to sharing.)
That’s my tiny little nugget on his first night “home.” We didn’t actually spend the night at our house because we had no power, but we did take a picture of him in his crib before heading to my in-laws for the night.
A little over one year later, I left my full-time job to do freelance work, focus on my writing, and be a stay-at-home mom with The Boy. Though I had already been working from home a few days a week, the new freedom I had in my schedule allowed for more bonding time with my little buddy.
We started going to toddler story time at the library, hanging out at the cafe for a snack and to watch the trains and trucks go by, and went on lots and lots of walks. That’s what I’ll miss the most about him not being around all day long, our fun yet simple daily adventures, exploring and learning about the world. And being able to do it pretty much whenever without having a million other things on the schedule.
Shortly after The Boy’s second birthday, we found out baby #2 (dubbed The Prince by one of my lovely blog readers!) was on the way. That lead to a very challenging year for the family. It was the year I questioned my decision to become a stay-at-home parent, the year I questioned the decision to have another child, the year I questioned my very ability to be a good mother, and the year I pretty much questioned every other life decision I had ever made to date. (Yup, I blogged about all that, too, in “How Does a Mother’s Love Grow?”.)
All the while my sweet baby was turning into a wonderful, smart, stubborn, sweet, sensitive, curious, perceptive, expressive little boy. Sometimes the emotions felt too big to handle (for both of us!), but we were learning and growing in our roles as mother and son. And preparing for big changes to come.
Fast forward to the next year when The Boy was not quite three and The Prince made an equally exciting, albeit very different, entry into the world. (You are probably not surprised to hear there’s a blog for that as well with “The Precipitous Birth of Baby Boy #2.”) And boy has time flown since then. Forget about fast forward, I’m talking super-fast, lightning-quick, warp-speed ahead kind of time.
There were times when I thought The Boy would never see the Prince as anything other than this thing that took up a lot of Mommy’s time. I worried (among a million other things) that they’d never have that special sibling bond I had with my sisters and brother. But mostly the days were filled with the daily grind of making it through to the next day, and all the little things that filled my life as a mommy. The Boy and I managed to go to the zoo just the two of us on his birthday. We still went to story time and the cafe, we just had an extra little guy in tow.
The Boy started three-year-old pre-K one rainy November morning. There were holidays, more birthdays, and pretty soon I had toddler and a little boy who seemed so far away from being a baby. I often wondered where the days, weeks, months, years had gone.
Always we had our trips to the library, walks downtown and to the beach, treats at the cafe, and playtime at the park. The milestones, the big moments continued to come and go, a million little ones filling all the in-between moments. I tried to remember each one, I took a lot of pictures, and I wrote in the boys’ journals I keep for them.
Year four brought a new school, new friends, new interests, new challenges. New fears. Somewhere along the way, that bond I had worried would never happened blossomed. The Boy and The Prince were brothers, friends, combatants, partners-in-crime. My little nugget–the baby who always had a quick smile turned toddler who could always tell when mommy needed a hug turned pre-schooler who tried my patience to the very end and beyond–was not so little anymore.
I hope he never grows out of speaking his mind (even though it can be sooooo annoying for me as a parent) and being passionate about his interests (no matter what they end up being in the future). I hope he continues to love learning and reading. I hope he never tires of The Prince looking up to him and copying him (even though it can be soooo annoying as an older sibling–I know from experience!). I hope he keeps working on expressing his emotions and figuring out how to do that in productive way (a lesson I’m continuing to learn as well). I hope he continues to challenge me to be a better mom, a better person. I hope he doesn’t drive me crazy!
Most of all I hope he knows how much I love him and how proud I am of him. The Boy. My hurricane baby. My 5-year-old. My kindergartner.