I remember this day, eight years ago, like it was yesterday. Except I was on copious amounts of morphine and I was recovering from a major abdominal surgery. I had my little boy eight years ago today and that was hands down one of the best days of my life. It was also the most monumental. I remember looking down at that tiny little face and it just took my breath away. I felt myself transform in that moment into a mother. I felt like I was having this grand metamorphosis. It was the start of me raising and shaping a tiny human so that one day he may be fit for society. I remember looking around me after having this revelation and wondering how in the hell the world still looks the same when my entire life had just changed so much.
Boy let me tell you, laying in that bed, I never for a second thought raising my son was going to be easy, but nothing could have prepared me for what it was really going to be like. There are no books, articles, or ancient scripts that can put into words just how much your babies can rock your world. I was not prepared for the first time he smiled, I swear angels were singing. The first time he walked, you could have knocked me over with a feather because I was just so stunned. When he started speaking I never thought I had heard a sound quite as sweet. There are so many joyous times for me to look back on and it still makes my heart so happy. But there are truly hard times too. The first time he was sick just broke my heart, there was nothing I could do for him and I just had to watch him suffer. I never realized how much I could miss him until he went on a trip with his grandparents for the first time. And I never thought my heart could break into so many pieces when he told me he hated me once. There is nothing I would change about him or any of the things we have experienced together. They have shaped him into this little person with such a large personality.
Every year when his birthday rolls around it startles me a little bit more. I thought five was hard because he was leaving me to go to school, but eight just kind of took my breath away. I feel like it’s just going to hit me harder every year because he is growing up so fast and my little baby is turning into this wonderful young man right before my eyes. I am so proud of him everyday. I love you so much, Brody Bretton.
I took my one year old to the park this morning. I typically take him early so it’s not too hot for his little porcelain skin. The park we usually go to is empty that early in the morning. I decided this morning to change it up and try out a new playground. Little did I know that I was in for a treat. We get there and I’m shocked by the sheer number of stay at home moms in spandex and oversized sweaters. At first I think, these are my people. Leggings ARE pants damnit! But then I get closer. And see that while they may be decked out in gym gear, they have their hair done and makeup on at this ungodly hour and I immediately don’t trust them. I take my nugget onto the playground and I’m trailing behind him as he gets acclimated and I begin to notice that all of these mom’s are speaking to each other in these unnaturally cheery falsettos and I can see way too many of their teeth. “It’s fine,” I think to myself, “they’re probably definitely not cyborgs” and we keep playing. That is when I pick up on the next thing: every time their kids misbehave I see them grab their kid by the arm and get very close to their ear and whisper. Oooookay. So I take my little to one of those cars that sit on a giant spring that rock back and forth and let him play when another child climbs in next to him. His mother quickly followed and we stood there for a minute in semi-comfortable silence until her son reached over and screeches “ELMO!!!” and tries to take my son’s Elmo plush. She quickly grabs her son’s arm and does the creepy whisper-threat in her son’s ear. At this point the kid is not having any of her passive-aggressive parenting bullshit and he proceeds to try to push my kid out of the car. The other mother then looks at me with her giant Xanax eyes and says in her stepford wives voice, “so sorry! It’s the terrible twos you know! Boxer just doesn’t want to play by the rules! I didn’t have this problem with my daughter, Flower!” I give her my best “I’m going to agree with you so you don’t murder me smile” and grab my son under the pretense of walking the trail around the park. Once we got out of the eyeline of the most-definitely-cyborg park mom’s we got in the car and left. From now on, I think we’ll stick with our regular park. But if I ever need a little Xanax with my coffee I know where to go!
Watching your kids grow up is a truly amazing, humbling, hectic, mesmerizing thing to behold. When I had my first child I was thrilled at every milestone and “first” and while I enjoyed it, I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting for the next new thing because I was so enthralled with him. I loved watching him learn to walk, and talk, and learn to use a spoon and graduate from formula to real food and all the little things in between. I didn’t necessarily want time to speed up so I could see him develop more, but I was just so excited! I would proudly exclaim, “look at this masterpiece I created and behold his intelligence!” Let me tell you about this baby’s hair. He had a head full from the moment he was born. It started off as a deep auburn and then turned into a bright orange and he had some Shirley Temple ringlets that went down to the middle of his tiny back. We decided when he was 10 months to cut his hair because his daddy was deploying and he wanted to be there for his first hair cut. I welcomed the change, it was another wonderful “first” for me to witness.
Fast forward seven years and I’m sitting here with my 15 month old with wispy strawberry blonde hair that hangs in his eyes and is curly and long in the back. He has what can only be described as “Donald Trump” hair, but I just can’t bring myself to cut it right now. You see, he is my last baby. I had my tubes removed when I had him. So while I sat and watched my oldest with wonder and excitement, my reactions with my one year old are laced with trepidation. Don’t get me wrong, I am still amazed at his milestones, but with each one that passes, I am reminded that it will be the last “first.” I watch him toddle around the living room and I’m reminded that in the not so distant future he will be potty training and going off to school and my days will be spent working instead of playing airplane and cleaning cereal off my floor.
I’ve had a lot of people ask and plea for me to cut his hair, and I know they mean well. But know this, I can’t control him growing up but I can hold off on that hair cut until I’m ready to experience that last “first” so be patient with me while I slow down time while I still can.