Dear Four-Year-Old Son,
Today is the last day that you will show four fingers when asked how old you are. Could it be that half a decade has passed already since you came into this world? Years ago, my longing to become a mom was finally answered when your sister and you came to being. I've come so far from that stage of my life that I sometimes have to take a good look back to realize how lucky I was to have had two miracles, as well as to see how far we've all come.
I have a picture of us on our mantel, just you and me. You were about 8 weeks old. Our eyes were locked on each other's; I was talking to you, and you were answering back with your knowing gaze. You were telling me, I'm full and happy, Mama, and I know that you fed me. It's amazing how our eyes talk. It's wordless, powerful, emotional, and stated. We've perfected our communication with our eyes over the years. We read each other with absolute precision. My eyes tell you how much I love you, and your eyes are my World.
When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There's so much they hold
Daddy and I hear about other babies who are easy-going, sleep through the night straightaway, or are just content with their lives. Then we ask ourselves, why were our babies were so extremely the opposite? You had reflux, making your early days painful for you and sleepless for us. You nursed for 22 months, which meant I didn't sleep soundly at night for longer than that. You were so attached to me that we were practically joined at the hips. There was a time when I couldn't walk three feet away from you without you howling. I sat with you in Toddler School from September until March before you were ready to say goodbye. You required help with so many things not because you couldn't do them, but because you weren't ready to do them yourself and wanted me to do them for you. In time, I've come to realize that you just needed more time and more help from me in order to become the person you are growing up to be. You needed my assurance, my understanding, and my patience so that you can confidently carry on your own. You knew what you needed, and you taught me how to be a mother who does not have to conform to the standards of others. You taught me to be a better mother than I set out to be.
And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?
But it always had to be me. I had to be the one to wake you up, dress you, brush your teeth, feed you, put on your shoes, and -- for crying-out-loud -- buckle you into your car seat and unbuckle you to get out. You wouldn't allow anyone else to do any of those things for you. How often would I throw my arms up in the air in frustration and just resign in the unfairness of it all! I wasn't given one moment of rest, one moment to be relieved from duty, one moment to have someone take over for me. I wanted to hide; I ran out of patience; I wanted to give up. But then I looked into your eyes and I remembered. Your eyes told me that I was your World.
I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up
But as time goes by, I know that you won't stay in my World forever. You go to the bathroom by yourself now; you eat by yourself
And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find
Today I see a beautiful pond on a sunny day. I find a smooth, polished rock; I toss it into the water. The moment the rock hits the water is the moment you came into being. The ripples that the toss create are both our Worlds overlapped together. Dense at first, but fading with time. Eventually, you will look for me with less frequency and urgency, and be in your own World with more confidence and direction... But even when we no longer see ripples, our Worlds will still overlap, however tiny an area, since without barriers, these ripples go on to infinity.
'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it
This is what I've learned, and it is what you have taught me.
No, I won't give up
Along the ripples are tiny, microscopic moments that act as reminders. A birthday, a traumatic incident, a nostalgic memory, or a peaceful day can all bring to light why -- amidst our busy and chaotic days -- I must follow your lead and be the mother that you need me to be. I'm still looking up.
Dear Son, I cannot wait to see you unfold that thumb and show that you are five-years-old tomorrow!
With all my love,