I held that tiny little man in my arms for the first time and smiled. “So, you are the one who has been inside of me the last nine months rolling and flopping around,” I whispered as I held his little hand, examining every finger. My own hand suddenly seemed large as I traced his lips and the outlines of his face. A living miracle was lying in my arms.
When we made it home, I just knew we were going to accidentally break him. His life was dependent entirely on us and we were two of the clumsiest human beings God ever created. That floppy little head and those wobbly chunky legs seemed fragile, and we felt so unprepared.
And yet, he grew. Those involuntary grins turned to whole face smiles. His unsteady body began getting stronger. Diaper changes, feeding times, and napping all became a bit more comfortable. Our hearts melted with every coo, and soon we couldn’t remember what our life was like without him.
Trips to the store produced teething toys, sippy cups, and pacifiers. He was sitting up, rolling over, and crawling. Nothing in our house was safe, and we realized how truly unprepared we were for the mobility stage as we moved computer cords, picked up paper clips, and vacuumed many times a day.
Then he talked. And walked. And danced. Drawers and cabinets received new safety locks. Baby gates went up and doors were closed. My inner gorilla came out as I constantly followed him around, my arms and legs out to either side, hovering just above, trying to anticipate and block his falls and collisions.
Toddler years were a mix of exhaustion and delight as I watched my little guy learn to speak, sing, play, and run. Hundreds of silly shows and songs became a part of my regular day while miniature trains, tractors, and trucks filled my car and house.
I blinked and kindergarten happened. Show and Tell, letter sounds, sight words, and new friends became the focus. Missing teeth, cowboy boots, and school clothes were regular parts of our world.
First grade bled into second as he learned to be an independent reader and gained responsibilities like feeding the dogs and chickens. Homework entered the scene as he learned addition and subtraction facts, spelling words, and vocabulary.
Times tables, tough questions, new friends, and asking Jesus in his heart came with third and fourth grades. His face turned red as little girls waved to him each morning. Shooting club, chores, and go-cart riding took up much of his time, while video games and movies filled the rest.
And soon it will be middle school with hormones, heartaches, self-discovery, and crushes. Then high school with trucks, technology, jobs, and girls. Then college, career, moving out, and eventually an empty house.
This mama’s heart isn’t ready. I’m not ready to let my oldest son keep growing up. I’m not ready to deal with all the hard emotions that teenagers must go through along with all the friendship lessons and relationship struggles. I’m not ready to watch him drive off by himself for the first time or go on his first date. I’m not ready to have conversations about sex, drugs, alcohol, and stupidity.
He’s supposed to stay little. He’s supposed to keep climbing into our bed during storms and holding my hand in the store. He’s supposed to watch Thomas the Train and Curious George for hours on end, not big boy scary movies like Godzilla and Jurassic Park.
I can only imagine how hard the day will be as I watch my first baby leave home. He will be confident, excited, and ready for the next piece of the adventure while Mama will be scared, worried, and praying harder than she’s ever prayed. I’m sure I’ll come home at night and stare into his room, remembering all the noise and fun that used to accompany his presence. The late-night game nights, sleepovers, and stinky teenage boy that left dirty clothes all over the floor and ate me out of house and home.
But until that day, like Mary in the bible, I will treasure all these things in my heart. I will embrace every moment, love every hug, and enjoy every snuggle. I will listen to made-up adventures about Ice Boy and Prime Kid and pretend to understand the difference between Transformers and Dinobots. I will teach him how to be kind, gentle, and understanding while I’m sure he will keep teaching me those very same things as well.
I can still feel his tiny little fingers in my hand. I can still see his small figure asleep in the crib. And I still remember that first day when he stole my heart forever.
The day I became mom.
© Christy Bass Adams, May 2021, All photos from Canva