Last night I picked up my 4 year old for the last time. In deep sleep, his weight pulled at my arms and made me stumble a little. His arms wrapped sleepily around my neck, and his long legs hung down past my sides. I laid him in his bed, surprised at the leanness of his features. Where did the baby fat go? His long eyelashes drifting over flushed cheeks are the only remnant of the baby that changed me.
Today, he is 5, and 5 is different, you know. I’ve already begun to feel the separation as he watches and emulates his dad, instead of me. He is becoming a man, and the process will take about another decade and a half.
Oh, I prayed for him. I laid in a bed for 17 weeks and hoped beyond hope that he would wait to be born, and that he would stay with me. And then, he was. I don’t think I put him down for months. He slept, wrapped in my arms, my dream baby. Then he got brave and independent and busy busy, and I marveled at every milestone.
Many mornings, he climbs in my bed and tells me how much he loves me. Other days, he asks me questions about God that make my head spin, and more questions and more. His heart is soft, and it’s easy to hurt his feelings. I know him and I’m learning him.
He still cries a lot, and I find myself demanding that he “act like a big boy”, all the while telling myself to shut up because this is IT, this is the last baby thing and I should just hold him every time he cries, because very, very soon I won’t be able to pick him up anymore.
Happy birthday to my baby boy, my 4th son. You are always, and ever a joy.