Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It's easy

To my Benji, on your third birthday,

Last night, after an hour of prepping dinner and finally getting it on the table, finally sitting down to eat, you slid off your chair, just a few inches from mine, and squirmed your way under my arm, onto my lap.  I was tired and hungry and your brothers would never have been allowed to do this.  But you're the third and the baby and, well, you're you.  So I let you sit there and attempted to eat around you.

At bedtime you wanted one more book and you spilled your milk down your shirt and you "didn't want to go night-night."  After all that, I knew that when you woke up you wouldn't want to go on the potty and you wouldn't want to get dressed and you wouldn't want to take brothers to school.

We met our friends for coffee this morning where you dumped a bottle of apple juice on your pants and sprinted repeatedly through the wide doorway.  And so I ran and dabbed and consoled between hurried sips of my cooling coffee.

If I attempt to vacuum, which at this point is highly necessary, and also highly unlikely, you'll follow close behind me.  You'll press the power button approximately every five seconds and I'll look at you sternly and say, "Benjamin, stop."  And you'll smile back and allow me another five seconds before you push it again.  Eventually I'll give up and hand it over, which will amuse you for about five seconds before you drop it and move on.  Until I start it again, that is.

You'll be "so hungwy" about every half hour or so, all day long, but you won't like any of the options presented you.  You'll be thirsty, but you won't accept a glass of water.  You'll run around in circles and look at me with panic in your eyes, but you won't just sit on the toilet and go.

And somewhere between the running and tantrums and general mischief, you'll meander to my side, lift your chubby little arms and say, "Mommy, I want to hold ya."  And so I'll pick you up and while I have you so close I'll kiss your soft, rosy cheek and I'll notice your plump, little lips and your long eyelashes and I'll cling to these bits of baby while I can, because I know they will fade too soon.  That they already are.

Later I'll hear you from behind the couch, talking to your toys.  I'll listen closely to your deep voice and the stories your create, a small peek into your increasingly complex little mind.

As I cook dinner I'll feel the warmth of your arms wrapped around my leg, and I'll remember that you find true joy in my presence, and for a second I'll stop being annoyed that I can't get anything done and soak up your unconditional adoration.  Your love that is both soft and fierce, both sweet and unrelenting.

But it won't really hit me until you're finally asleep.  Until your belly rises and falls in an easy pattern as you snuggle up to one of your hard-edged vehicles.  But then it will take my breath away.  The intensity of my frustrations will be crushed, smothered by the intensity of my love.  And your dad and I will look at each other as you snore on your pillow and say, "Well, he had a hard day."  And then we'll smile because it's both ridiculous and true, all at the same time.

It's not always easy with you.  In fact, it's mostly not easy.  It's not easy to get you dressed or out the door.  It's not easy to chase you through parking lots and manage your feisty temper.  It's not easy to feed you, or put you to bed.

But it's so incredibly easy to love you.  So easy.  It's as if I was made to do it.  It's as natural and thoughtless as breathing.

We'll get through these toddler years.  I just know we will.  But I imagine it won't be the last of the tough times.  I imagine it won't always be easy.

But even when the days are hard, the love never is.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    just came across your blog and this post brought me to tears... thank you! As a mom of an almost 3yo and a 1,5yo (and a full time job) I can easily relate to every single word of your text... My oldest is the sweetest and angriest little boy in town and it makes me wonder every day whether I am doing it all wrong or if it is possible to have a kid who refuses to do anything every single day. In my worst days I don't look at them sleeping overwhelmed with love but with repent for not being better at this mom thing and fear that tomorrow will be as hard as today. That I am not good enough to help him navigate his feelings and prevent some of his frustrations, or teach him how to deal with them more effectively. Anyway, I guess I am commenting on all your posts at one and I just want to say thank you for these posts, it is a incredibly hard but fantastic journey! We got that! Chris :)