Fifteen and a half years ago on one snowy evening in December, you made me a Mom. I'll never forget when they put you in my arms, this tiny wiggling thing that looked at me as if to say, "I was comfy in there. Why did you make me leave?"
I was a little scared of you, at first. How the hell was I supposed to know what to do with a baby? When you were sick for the first time, I didn't catch on. Once I almost dropped you in the parking lot. We didn't figure out that your slow motor milestones meant you had dyspraxia. And of course, then there was the time I accidentally locked you, and the keys, in the car.
You sat in your car seat as I stood forlornly outside in the pouring rain, and laughed at me.
Yep. Parenting you kicked my ass. You know all about it, as I've been pretty open about the times I carried you kicking and screaming from playgrounds, daycare, or friend's houses. You asked me once why you didn't have siblings and in that moment, I almost thought that it was because I really couldn't handle any more children. Parenting is hard sometimes, you know. All you ever want is the best for your kids, but sometimes life just throws you curveballs that you can't control. You have to move, or people get sick, jobs are lost, and instead you have to make do with what you have.
Through it all, you never failed to make me laugh. You were so much fun when you were little. I don't tell you that enough.
I loved that by two you knew every staff member by name in our grocery store. You had the entire staff so charmed with those blue eyes that it used to take me three hours to shop, because you just wanted to visit.
You did the funniest things-from falling asleep with water wings on your legs (yes, your legs), to shoving lego up your nose that I had to remove with tweezers, you were always into something. Remember the screw driver and the $300 worth of plastic toys you took apart when you were four, and then put back together and fixed?
My favorite thing has always been just to hang out with you. Going to the corner store for sodas, the red roof for ice cream, picnics at the park, picking blackberries, museums, bike rides, and catching bugs have all been more fun because you and I did them together. I admit, I miss them a little-promise me that as you get older, you'll humor me a bit and we'll find some fun things to do together, okay?
You are grown now; no longer are you small enough to fit in my lap, holding my hand seems a little weird, and it takes more than some penny candy to make a bad day better. Instead we chase each other around the kitchen with peals of laughter filling the house, you treat me to coffee at Starbucks, and hug me so hard you can lift me off the ground. In four short years, you'll legally be an adult.
I'm not sure I'm ready for that. I still remember the baby you were. Sometimes, when you aren't looking, I do a double take at this almost-man in front of me because you have grown and changed so much, I can barely believe it's you. I want you to know that being your Mom has been the most amazing journey of my life-one that I wouldn't change for anything. You've taught me so much, and I'm so, so, SO proud of you. Over the next four years as I watch you become an adult it's going to be bittersweet, so please don't mind me if I stroke your hair like you are five again, or ask you to come to the corner store for a soda and penny candy. You will be ready for bigger and better, and I'll be so excited that you are going there, but every step there feels a little like a step away from me-which is how it's supposed to be, I guess. We raise children to let them go and for me, that is going to be the hardest thing of all.
This Mother's Day, the answer to your question came to me as we sat curled up on the couch nibbling on chocolate making fun of old Star Wars movies.
It was never that we didn't give you siblings because we couldn't handle the idea of more children.
It's because you are so amazing, you have always been all we've ever needed.