To my firstborn,
In just a few months, you’ll be turning 6. Wow – how did that happen? With each day that passes, I notice you changing and growing. You’re still my little boy, but your body is changing; you sometimes talk with the eloquence of someone beyond your years and your mind is eager to drink in everything that this world has to offer. I’m excited for you but I also wish time would just slow down a little.
I look back to the morning when you took your first steps, and I remember thinking that I couldn’t imagine a time when I wouldn’t be amazed by you being able to put one foot in front of the other. Yet, here you are, running around the playground with your friends, jumping off the sofa and racing your little brother up the stairs. How did those first wobbly steps become the confident strides of a big boy, without me really noticing?
Sometimes I look you when you’re watching tv and I catch a glimpse of the boy you’ll become – somehow, your almost-six-year-old features seem to momentarily age, and I can see a teenager sprawled out in front of me, long limbs everywhere, taking over the sofa.
I watch how you enjoy playing the protective older brother role to Little Monkey – in-between annoying the hell out of him, of course. I’m so proud when I watch you together, as you help him put his coat on in the mornings. It only feels like yesterday that I was helping you with your coat and showing you how to do the zip. Now I can’t remember the last time I did your zip up, which gives me a feeling of pride at your self-sufficiency and slight sadness that there’s one less thing you need me to do.
There are still lots of flashes of innocence and unbridled moments of joy that make my heart sing. I love the fact that you still get excited when you find an odd-shaped Hula-Hoop in the packet, thrusting it in my face with such enthusiasm, in a bid to showcase your discovery.
Or when you read a new word correctly and you try to act all cool and nonchalant, but I can see the pride radiating out from beneath the beaming smile that you’re trying to suppress.
Last week you asked me to carry you up the stairs – and it made me so sad. Not because you’d asked – I will carry you for as long as I can – but because I realised, as I heaved your long limbs up and around me, that it’s only going to be a little while longer before you become too heavy for me to carry. And for a mummy, that’s a horrible prospect to stomach.
Some of my most precious moments with you are the ones I steal when you’re asleep, tucked up in your bed. When you don’t have to pretend to be the tough guy, when you don’t have to worry about remembering your spellings or who said what to you in the playground. I watch you in slumber and I see hints of my baby, and glimpses of the boy you are to become.
I suppose the painful truth is that you, my darling boy, were never meant to stay little and be mine forever. And as your biggest fan, I’ll always support you and love you and help you find your wings.
And when you’re towering above me at 6 foot tall, and you no longer want to marry me, or think I’m cool or funny – just remember that you owe me at least 6 years of piggybacks up the stairs.
Love you always,