“My baby girl fills a place I didn’t even know was empty. I am positively smitten.” (K.H.) I love this line that I “borrowed” (with credit) from a friend in her Facebook stream.
I also love vicariously reliving the “smitten” stage of the first-born child. There is something so wonderful and special about those magic moments. Those moments when time stands still and you realize that you have sat on the couch for two hours listening to the uneven yet peaceful breath of your baby and your mind has been still and content. Those moments when you stare into your baby’s face and realize you never knew love could be so powerful and so peaceful and so strong. Those moments when you realize your life has changed forever and you’re so thankful for that.
I watched my friend cuddle her 2-year-old son on the subway during our recent trip to New York City. Her arms wrapped around him. Her face bent forwards to snuggle against his cheek. She spoke softly, whispering. Smitten. Blissful.
I was on the other side of the train – restraining a one-year-old with one arm, “spotting” the three-year-old as he bounced around looking out the window into the darkness and jumping back to look at all the people on the train, and verbally reminding the 6-year-old to “hold on,” “sit down,” and “be quiet.” There was no quiet within my brain. And yet, I was still okay with it all the chaos and the madness of my three. (Alright, actually….I was thinking “yes…just you wait until baby #2 is born and then all of that lovey-dovey-attentiveness will change. Just you wait.” Not in an evil-haha kind of way, but in a reality-is-coming kind of way 🙂 .)
You see, I have a great friend who has 4 little boys about the same ages as my three guys (poor dear – she’s amazing!). And we are good for each other because we are honest with each other. And we agree that we absolutely love our boys. No questions about it. But we don’t always feel that love. Sometimes, I’m just going through the motions of care-taking. Sometimes I’m just changing another diaper, wiping another snotty nose, putting on another pair of shoes that I just put on and that he just took off again.
And sometimes, I am “not happy with your behavior” and the love feels far away. Present, but currently unavailable. But then I sneak into the boys’ bedroom before I go to sleep each night, and lean over to kiss each one (a blown kiss to the little guy whose crib mattress is too far away), and whisper I love you.
Yet, it is in some of the “big moments” of parenting when I am overwhelmingly reminded that I am still, 6 years later, smitten with my boys. This week Micah started kindergarten. I stood along the wall of the church’s gymnasium and watched as he made new friends with the boys sitting beside him as they waited to go to their classroom. I signed “I love you” whenever I caught his eye, and I gave him a kiss as he walked away from me. The tears flowed by the time I reached the anonymity of my car. My boy. Kindergarten. The start of the journey of school. And as I drove to work through the fog of my eyes, the chorus of a song played over and over in my brain – “well done, well done…” (Moriah Peters). It just seemed to sum up my love for him, all the work that we’ve done together over the past six years, all of that – well done – you got him to kindergarten!
I did much better the next two days of dropping him off, until I opened his backpack Friday evening and found a card that Micah made at school.
A Handful of Love
(by D. Conway)
And now that it’s done,
I can’t wait to tell you
About all the fun.
We read a book called The Kissing Hand
About Chester, a sweet raccoon.
He went to school up in a tree,
Beneath the shining moon.
Until his mom kissed his hand.
It sent the love right up his arm,
Towards his heart for it to land.
Just like Chester, I was brave
Because of love from you.
I made this gift so I can show
How much I love you, too!