I vividly remember one early morning 8 years ago like it was yesterday. The rising sun had just peaked its way through a crack in the curtains right into my eyes, my husband gently turned over and our eyes met. I smiled at him and fell back asleep. About 15 minutes later, the door to our bedroom predictably opened and our three-year old son climbed into our bed. I felt my son’s little hand stroking my face and my hair. I pretended to be sleeping while peaking at him through squinted eyes. He kneeled there, watching me and waited, my heart smiled. He got closer, I could hear him breathing, could feel his baby breath on my face, he kissed me. He climbed under the covers and settled himself in the nook of my body and fell asleep again. HEAVEN.
My little boy, my everything, my life. Everywhere I went, he went. We did everything together. We played, we ate, we laughed, we cuddled, we sang, we cried together. He was my life and I was his. He was without a doubt “el bebé de mamá.” While he was close with Papi and they had fun playing together, my son turned to me for approval, for comfort, for guidance, for fun, for love, for just being. It was that way for many years afterwards, even after the birth of our second son almost three years later.
Fast forward to now, and that little boy who would cling onto me endlessly, is 12 years old. Things aren’t how they used to be, as a matter of fact, it’s a whole ‘nother story. As to be expected, he is no longer by my side every moment of the day. He doesn’t seek me out as often as he used to. He doesn’t need me as much as he used to. I can’t say exactly when it happened, but now he’ll tell me he’s “got this” when I give him advice or comfort. It’s sort of a relief, but heartbreaking too because it all happened just so darn fast. I remember the days when I would drop him off at preschool and he would cling on to me for dear life and now as I drop him off in middle school, he quickly smiles and waves me off. The dramatic long hugs and kisses are a long-ago memory…*sigh*
I had him at age 33 and we both experienced a lot of growing pains, he forced me to slow down, he helped me grow up, and become the woman I am today. Now that I’m in my 40s with two kids under my belt, I have acquired a depth of emotional and spiritual maturity and can honestly enjoy every given moment with my kids. My kids made me a better person.
There’s no denying that there’s a small emptiness in my heart for those days, but something else fills it now. The joy I get from seeing my son turn to his Papi for almost everything. As far as my son is concerned, Papi has all the answers now. Papi gives him security, Papi is like a kind of Guru to him, and I love seeing how their relationship has solidified and flourished. The truth is that he is now more his than mine. Still, I am at peace and assured that my son is on the right track to becoming a wonderful man.
While I miss my little boy and his total dependency on me, having another sweet, affectionate little boy in the house has eased that transition. I am ecstatic to see my older son become his own self now – a confident, independent and happy boy with his own interests and hobbies, and a full life. I have to remind myself that this is the natural order of things and although the way we used to be is gone, it is in a place where it is forever entrenched in my heart and soul. He will always be my baby and every chance I get (and he lets me), I will kiss and hug him and hold on for dear life.