Monday, September 23, 2013

A Baby No More

Zack age 4, and me. On our way to California.
Zachary turns eight on Wednesday. Eight. Eight. Eight. I cannot seem to get it through my head. I have an eight year old boy. Not a baby, not a toddler, not a Kindergartner. A full-on KID. Most of the time his boyish face shows no traces of the infant I held in my arms on September 25, 2005. I rarely think of the chubby arms that reached for me from his crib. I can no longer remember all the songs we sang  at Music Together, and I cannot carry him easily in my arms....even if he wanted me to.

I won't lie, as much as my heart swells with pride at each of his accomplishments, his fast legs, his inquisitive mind, his creative artwork and his lust for learning, it also breaks a little each year he grows  further away from me. As parents we are tasked with helping our babies grow into capable, contributing, good adults. But as we help our children become more and more independent, they need us less and slowly, they begin to let go.

There is nothing quiet like carrying and giving birth to a baby. For nine months that little being is literally an extension of your body, sharing your breath and blood. After birth a mother may carry her newborn with her everywhere, in a sling, in her arms, on her back, nursing the infant and being his sole source of nutrition. But then there is the shift, never as noticeable as it is now that I have a son in grade school, capable of feeding, bathing and entertaining himself. While my husband and I are still the center of his universe, I see this slowly changing as well, soon his friends, teachers and girlfriends will be winning a good portion of his attention.

And it is good. It is as it should be.  I can already see that my son has the basic tools that will help him grow into a good man. He has confidence, heart, intelligence and compassion. Yet, if I am to be totally honest, there is a part of me that mourns the loss of my baby. The feel of him warm and pressed against my skin while I rocked in the glider,  the joy in his eyes as I held him in my arms spinning him across the floor dancing in circles. That love that pure love, I will never experience in quiet the same way.

So as I approach the big day, the celebration that will be marked with balloons, cake, presents and parties, I do so with a great deal of joy, and also a (good strong) twinge of sadness, knowing that my baby is a baby no more.....

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