In exactly thirty days my son will turn four years old. Four. Years. Old. And I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I will be a wreck for the month of September. It’s an odd experience, being in the presence of this little boy. There is a perpetual lump in my throat and tears are always springing up out of nowhere. And even though my whole life I have been somewhat of an “emotional person” in the last four years I have learned more about the complexities of love than I ever thought possible.
And this kind of love, the love that we have for our children, it’s always complicated. For instance, the lump in my throat, is it there because there is so much that I want to say to him? Or because I am afraid I will say all the wrong things? And the tears in my eyes? I never really understood the expression “tears of joy” until my son came along. Those are what I was I was shedding four years ago when he was born and they put him in my arms for the first time and they are what I am wiping away as I try to write this.
Loving a little boy is complicated; rarely will you find yourself in circumstances where you can feel enlightened, angry, frightened, week, heartbroken, joyful, giddy and drop-dead tired all about in as much time as it takes to have a pizza delivered or build a fort out of blankets. I am heartbroken that my baby is “gone” but I am elated that I get to watch him grow up. He is in a particularly magical phase right now. There are moments when I look at him and I can clearly see the baby he was and the man that he will be. He traded in his chubby lil legs for hairy boy ones, but he still crawls into my lap every night and asks to be rocked. He asks me questions like “Where is Sydney Harbor?” and “How did they make mummies?” but he still pronounces Yellow “Lellow” and in the morning when he crawls out of bed he likes to pretend that he is a butterfly coming out of his cocoon.
Years ago, while pushing my baby in his stroller, an older man looked down lovingly at my son, who was all swaddled up in pastel blankets and looking out at the world with these monumental brown eyes, and the man said with a smile, “It’s hard to believe one day he will grow up and break your heart.” I am surprised that the day came so soon. In four short years he has broken my heart, mended it, grown it, and done it all over again. Who would have thought that breaking your heart would actually make it stronger? Who knew my son could teach me so much about love. Loving a little boy—it’s infinitely worth all the complications.
And, in the intrest of all that is freaking cute watch a baby sing the Beetles: