In one week, Rich, Teddy, Peter and I will be making a one mile drive. We will join a throng of people, looking for the room number I'd stopped to find out about the day before. I suspect Peter will be shy, hiding behind my leg. Teddy will probably be a little nervous. Rich will be strong, remembering to ask the questions that I forget. And me? I'll be fighting tears.
Within 15 minutes, we'll probably have left that room, heading downstairs to a large breakfast with others like us. At least, Rich, Peter and I will be. Teddy will be left behind. Only for 3 hours, but it's going to be a difficult 3 hours.
I should be ready for this. I mean, it's not really the first time it's happened. But it's so much bigger now than it was then. He's so much bigger. And so much older.
I still remember the first time I held him, as he snuggled against me, hungry and questing for my breast. I thought he was perfect then. But, honestly, it's a thought I'd had over the previous nine months.
I remember bringing him home, buckled securely in his car seat, blue eyes watching below a shock of dark hair.
I remember him rolling over. I remember him cruising. I remember him walking. I remember the small words - dada, mama, baba. Then they morphed into larger words - Want dink, I pay?, Wuv oo. And then the sentences - Can I have a drink, Mommy?, Can we play outside?, I love you in the whole world, Mommy. I remember the surprise of family and friends when he started reading. And how quickly he read and how much better his reading got. I remember him asking questions about everything. Colors, addition, how things work... he's always been a curious boy.
I know he's ready for this. He knows his colors, his numbers (to 100), a little addition and subtraction, a lot of words. He is friendly and outgoing and shouldn't have any problems. But I'm not ready. I see this boy getting ready to take his first steps truly away from me. His walk toward independence. And I know that it's necessary. Of course it's necessary. I don't want him here, dependent on me his whole life.
But I miss the little boy that used to beg me to hold him, now too big to be picked up. I miss the boy that listened to me without question, thinking I knew everything. I miss the little one that could curl up in the crook of my arm.
After next week, I'll have three more years before I have to face something similar again. Then it will be Pete's turn. And I want to think that I'll be different with him. That I'll be able to be proud of him and no tears will be shed. But I know better.
Because, already I see the signs. He's speaking in full sentences now. He's curious about the world around him. Not as interested in the ABCs and numbers as Teddy was, but more interested in coloring and drawing. His own little person, though he does love to emulate his big brother. He's a different person, yet in many ways the same.
They are both caring kids. Loving kids. Friendly kids. They are both smart in their own way. And they're both growing up far too fast for my liking.
|Teddy at 17 months|
|Peter at 15 months|