The most incredible transformation has happened right before my very own Momma-eyes in the last year. Every time I tried to put pen to paper to write down my thoughts, I was overwhelmed with a sense of loss, and couldn’t continue. My once little blue-eyed boy is gone forever and a young man stands in his place.
I occasionally find myself startled by a stranger in my house, only to quickly realize that it is my son. His hands are so big, jaw structure suddenly defined. He is taller than me now, faster and stronger. Those once tight little boy hugs are now different, less often, but cherished even more.
I thought that I would never ever forget the mundane or magical times, the sweet little boy giggles, the noise and dirt….so much dirt. But those days are gone, and with each passing day, those stacks of memories keep getting taller – faster, as I desperately try to soak it all in, all the unfamiliarity that is my son.
The long sleepless nights and never ending days of the early years of parenthood seemed to last a lifetime. It was merely minutes ago in my mind, in my heart. I yearn for those days again, but also feel a tinge of excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead for him.
He grew so quickly, from little boy, to big boy, to all of the sudden this. I wonder how he feels…like a stranger in his own skin, perhaps. The changes this year have been remarkable: the physical, emotional, spiritual. It constantly catches me by surprise. He now thinks critically, offers input on real-world issues and cares about his appearance.
My son came into the world with soft fine hair all over his tiny body and a grumpy old man expression that I feared would never go away.
He was mobile long before he should have been, trying with all his might to keep up with his big sister.
He toddled around with a baby wipe, cleaning all of the surfaces that he grew to reach.
My son that loved the women in his life with every bit of his chubby little self as a toddler…he was so snuggly and sweet.
He soon after associated “the great outdoors” with time spent with Daddy…which in turn, dethroned Mommy as his number 1.
He cried on his first ever day of preschool, watching us walk away through the classroom window. Our hearts broke more than his did, that day.
My son that helped the janitor and school secretary get a frog out of the urinal in the boys bathroom as a first grader without a second thought. Nothing disgusted him…nothing.
He lived in his mud-boots and Levi’s for 4 years straight. (And who could forget that glow-in-the-dark skeleton sweatshirt he never took off!)
The boy that hopped off the school bus every day, dropped his bookbag at the door, grabbed his pocket knife, a rope and his BB gun and took off until I called him in for supper.
My son that could gut his kill and clean a fish before some kids learn to ride a bike.
The boy that played hours of football in the front yard with the neighbor kids, ripping out the knees of every pair of pants he owned.
Now I hold my breath as I watch him ramp dirt bikes, go in for the tackle, or pull out of the driveway for opening weekend of rifle season.
My son that continually teaches me what it is like to love and truly understand an introvert. My son that reminds me of his father. My son that gives me hope for the future generation of men.
Where I once had to protect him from the unknown, he’s showing me and teaching me about the unknown. He is charting his own coarse now, I’m just hanging on as we go. He doesn’t need me as much, my affection or time like he used to. I now find myself needing his. When was his last “I love you more”, or the last time I had to clip his nails or kiss a boo boo? I wish I remembered the last, every last. I wish I knew at the time to squeeze him a moment longer, read him “just one more book”, and scoop him up in my arms for the last time.
He has taught me the true definition of adventure, and curiosity. He has taught me about quiet love, love that doesn’t shout from the rooftops, but is undeniably there.
So , I will continue to steal the occasional hug, and watch for opportunities to take a peak into his beautiful brain. I will feed his growing body, pray for his maturing heart, and always love him to the moon and back.