In the craziness of raising young kids, sometimes, it can be hard to remember what’s really important. And how fast the time goes.
The kitchen sink smelled like last night’s curry dinner. The preschooler was crying over a missing red Converse. The baby had just pooped.
And we needed to leave for school in 3 minutes.
Crap. There’s no way.
I grabbed the kitchen sponge and furiously started wiping counters with one hand. With my feet, I tried to kick Legos and toy cars into a manageable pile.
I still need to get dressed and change the baby and pack the diaper bag.
And then, I heard it.
Oh no, not another request. I don’t have time.
“Pweeeeease, Mommy. Pwease. Hold me.”
Without looking, I knew it was the toddler standing at my feet.
With one hand, he nuzzled his face into his blanket, which he’d wrapped around the side of his neck. With his other hand, he clutched my black yoga pants, which were marked by the gooey oatmeal hands that had grabbed my thighs all morning.
His hair was fuzzy from last night’s slumber.
His skin was warm.
His eyes were expectant.
“No, son. I can’t hold you right now.”
He didn’t move.
He looked into my eyes, and waited a few seconds more as he pushed his face into his blanket.
“Pwease, Mommy. Pwease hold me.”
“Sweetheart, I’m sorry. I have too much to do right now. And, you’re 2 years old. You’re too big for me to hold you.”
And then, for some crazy reason, I stopped.
I looked down.
And as I gazed at the little person standing at my feet, I saw so much more than a 2-year-old cradling his cuddle and looking at me with forlorn eyes.
I saw a 3-year-old who, in a few months, will be anxious to leave me to meet new faces at preschool.
I saw a 6-year-old, who will beg to play at the neighbor’s house every afternoon.
I saw an 8-year-old, who will idolize the older boys at school, and when at home, will only have eyes for his Daddy.
I saw a 10-year-old, who will push me away when I try to hug him in public.
I saw an 18-year-old, who will leave for college or a new job or a new home.
I saw a young man who will, one day, fall in love.
And then (I cringe at the thought), I will be far from the number 1 woman in his life.
I know that’s really weird to say.
After all, I’m just your mom. And of course, I can’t expect that you will always adore me, as you do now. That you will always think of me as a superhero. The most beautiful woman alive. The woman for whom all things are possible.
All too soon, my sweet child, you’ll learn that I’m not perfect. That I sometimes make bad decisions, and that I’m far from invincible.
But, today, here you are.
Looking at me with that perfect-sweet-little-boy look.
“Mommy, pwease hold me.”
Isn’t it weird that sometimes the last thing you want to hear is the only thing you need to hear?
In that moment, my answer changed.
Yes, I will hold you.
Yes, I will hug you.
Yes, I will kiss you. (Maybe, like, 30 times in a row.)
Yes, I will baby you.
For every single second that I can.
Please, never grow up and never leave me and never stop believing that I’m so much better than I really am.
I know those requests sound so silly.
But today, sweet boy, all that matters is holding you close and kissing your soft, perfect face.
Yes, I will carry you around like you’re a baby.
I will listen to the precious way you describe your world.
I will revel in your sweet innocence.
Because I know that, soon, I’ll be raising a boy who is too cool to say, “I love you, Mommy.”
Yes, I realize it’s totally ridiculous that today, I’m nuzzling my nose to your cheek and telling you that you’re my baby. That I’m asking you to never grow up and holding you close until you give me the exact answer I’m looking for.
“No, Mommy. I won’t grow up. I always be your baby.”
Of course, you have no idea how false your answer really is.
But today, my sweet perfect innocent child.
Today, I believe you.