In less than 24 hours, my son will be five years old. Amazing, right? Five is a big year and five came really, really fast. The days of walking around with someone in my belly are so far away that they should be a faint memory, but I can recall so clearly that last day that he was taking up shop inside of my tummy. I walked with this cross between a wobble and a roll. I defied the laws of physics. My back was arched back so far that I thought I would topple backward. It would take minutes for me to stand up from sitting. There was the roll, rock, push motion that I used to do. I ached all over. I felt inhuman. I wanted him out of there!
We had spent all of this time together, but I didn’t know what he looked like or what color his eyes were. I had images from ultrasounds, but I wanted to feel his skin. I was eager to see this person who I had talked to so much. I wanted to know the face that was attached to the foot that was hanging in my ribs. I wanted to feel the hand that went with the tiny hand print that would push out against someone trying rub my belly. He knew my voice and I wanted to know his. I REALLY wanted him out of there!
I remember taking a quiet moment in that last day that I was pregnant. I was sitting outside and the wind was rustling through the leaves. The sky was clear and the sun was gentle and warm. Everything looked golden and blue. My baby was moving around a bit, but he seemed to be resting up for the work to come. He was just kind of lounging. The heels of his feet were leaning against my ribs and I could see the imprint of his toes on my belly. I sat there and breathed slowly and deeply and took in the peaceful moment. I told him that I love him. I told him that I was excited and little scared. I told him that he was the closest I had ever felt to a person.
Around twelve hours after that moment he had arrived. He was perfect. My heart was full and I was just amazed. We did it together. We crossed the threshold of life together. In a sense, we were both brand new. He was a new born and I was a reborn. I felt like we knew each other and what would be learned over the course of our lives together would only affirm and build onto an already indestructible bond.
Now, five years after that moment. I can still say that I have never felt closer to another person. My son is far more independent than he was then. He speaks for himself. He often wants me to “leave him alone” so he can play with his friends. And when he is sick, he still lays his head on my chest. He still crawls into my bed in the middle of the night. Now, he can say the words “Mommy, I love you.”
It is hard at times to imagine that there is no reversal of this experience. There is no time travel back to the days when our kids are in our arms cooing at us, needing us for every little thing. Those moments of first teeth and first words and first steps are tiny amounts of time compared to the life that we know lays before them. They have these dreams and hopes that will mean leaving the nest. We have these expectations of them that will require our one day letting go and accepting that although our hands can let them go, our hearts never will.
In less than 24 hours my son will be five.