There are days when I look at his face and wrinkle my brow. My God, how he's changed. What happened to my baby? When he was born, he had brown hair and an impossibly round face. I never remember how dark his hair once was, or how delicate his body once seemed. Sometimes I feel so sad at how quickly it all went by, and I pledge to remember more, to videotape more, and then I clench my fists and close my eyes and try to forcibly burn this moment into my brain: how he looks and sounds and smells in this very moment, even though I know the memory will morph into a thousand tomorrows, and I will one day look at photos of his downy blond head and chubby thighs in surprise, because they are long gone.
There are days when I look at his face and see glimpses of the little boy...the big boy...the teenager...the man he'll become. And the enormity of my task as his mother takes my breath away. My task is more than providing love and sustenance and dry diapers -- I am raising a man, a human being, who may one day change the world, who may one day love and complete the life of someone else. One day my arms won't be enough to comfort him, one day my applause will no longer be enough to satisfy his ambition. And that's as it should be. His potential is limitless -- far greater than my own. I am raising a man who can make the world a better place simply by his continued presence in it.
There are days when I look at his face and see his father. And I smile, because his father is a good man -- a wonderfully loving, kind man -- who loves his child more than anything on earth; who knits his brow in confusion and hurt while relating a story of a friend's ex-husband who no longer cares to see his children much anymore (does.not.compute); who sits in a darkened room long after his child has fallen asleep in his arms, just to spend a few more minutes together. I see the little family I've made and I fall in love with him all over again.
There are days when I look at his face and see myself. And I worry. What faults will he inherit? What fears and neuroses will I unwittingly pass along? Will he be relentlessly hard on himself? Will he be anxious and timid and crumble under the slightest criticism? No. No, he will not. Because I will no longer be those things. I will be better, for him. I have taken to motherhood like a duck to water -- even on the worst of days (and oh, those days can be frustrating and alienating) I always know that my life is so much better because he is a part of it. I can be the mother he needs me to be. We are all meant to go together, like a jigsaw puzzle, each complimenting each other to make a beautiful picture.
There are days when I look at his face and see the unborn baby we saw on the 3D ultrasound, back before he had a name, before the reality of how our lives would change. He was wanted and planned and prayed for, yet his birth still felt like a car crash -- so sudden and violent, with no way to truly prepare for it. We were two. And then we were three. And we will always be three. And thank God (thank God!) for that.
365 days down. So many, many more to go. Happy birthday, my sweet son.