The moment you were born, I was overcome with he most incredible, curious feeling
that I had known you forever. You were an extension of myself: mine, my blood, my child, my love. And while I remembered my life before you, I no longer knew my life without you. In the early days, your needs were predictable, and usually satisfied with a change, a feed or a nap. And as you grew more alert, our interactions became deeper and, in many ways, more meaningful. In the past two years I have watched you grow leaps and bounds, and I suddenly find myself, as your mother, at a very bittersweet crossroads. One I know will only become stronger with time and age. I find myself learning about you rather than simply knowing you. Your independence, curiosity, and intelligence shine through, as does your stubbornness, strength, and tenderness, and I often wonder who you are and who you are becoming. I see your imagination blooming and your memories forming. I see your relationships growing, and your opinions growing stronger. I watch your interactions with the world around you, and suddenly, I am just an active observer. What you need from me today is much different than what you needed a year ago, and different still from what you will need a year from now. Watching you grow into yourself and stepping into your own is a true honor and privilege – and one that I deeply cherish as your mother. Yet, while our relationship as mother and son is forever, I know my role of mother will change over time, and my innate knowledge of your being will surely change, as well. But I am always here, watching from a close distance, loving you with everything I have, and ready to hold your hand any time you need. I look forward to learning about you, your true needs, wants and passions, and discovering more about this beautiful human that I brought into this crazy world.
I love you forever and ever and ever.
This is a difficult thing to understand, but is something that has been on my mind ever since my daughter was born – this idea that the baby I so innately knew when he was born has become (and is still becoming) this independent person who I now need to learn about. I’m sure this observation is so particularly strong because I have the juxtaposition of another newborn, who brings back all the same feelings of knowing. I’m sure I will also experience the same wonders with my daughter. But there is something very poignant about these moments with my son, and how it makes me feel, right now, as a mother. Of course, my son will always be my son, and if I do it right, he will always treasure our relationship as much as I do. But I also know that if I do it right, there will be a day, hopefully many, many, many years from now, when he will not need me the same way he does now. While I love watching him grow, develop and learn everything about the world around him, I also see this new person developing out of the person I already know. He has specific likes and dislikes, special rituals and routines, that were born from his brain alone, and an endless number of ideas and aw-struck moments that only push him further into an age of discovery and self-awareness. It is a beautiful thing to watch, but also keeps me humble, as I understand I am now simply here to love hime, teach him, and steer him in the right direction, but let him find his own path.
I recently stumbled upon a quote that could not ring truer for this moment in time:
“A mother’s job is to teach her children not to need her anymore. The hardest part of that job is accepting success.” (author unknown)
I know my son will still need me for many years to come, and at only two years old, I’m sure I won’t have to part with his mommy neediness for quite some time. But watching the natural development of his independence, and finding it in myself to appreciate the changes this will bring forth in our dynamic, makes me realize that the better I prepare myself now, the easier it will be to allow for and accept this “success” later on. As much as I may want to hold on to that feeling of innate knowing, I love that my role as his mother means letting go and watching him prosper.
He’ll be my baby forever – and that baby I will always know. But a man he will become, and I look forward to knowing that person, too.