Yesterday, I looked at my little boy, and I saw a man. A little man, one just over two feet, but a man nonetheless. It was like a glimpse of the future, a preview of days to come. John was dressed in tiny corduroy pants and a button-down shirt, with tiny shoes on his tiny feet. When I saw him standing there, smiling up at me, it was so easy to imagine him four feet (or probably closer to three and a half) taller, smiling down at his mother. There have been plenty of times where I have imagined him as a child, as a teenager, as a young man, but this time was different. I saw it before me, not by looking within me, but by looking directly at my little boy, my baby who already seems to be growing up too fast.
It seems like just yesterday that I was holding my newborn son in my arms for the first time, that I was rocking John to sleep, feeding him bottle after bottle when it was all he could eat. Now he can sit up on his own, travel from room to room with no help from me. He can fall asleep all by himself, and will sleep through the night. He drinks his bottles and eats his meals with minimal struggle (at the moment). So much has changed in the past ten months, and in just the past few days, he has started to cruise along furniture, taking his first hesitant steps without holding Mommy or Daddy’s hands.
Yesterday, as John stood there, one hand resting on the fireplace ledge, it was so easy to imagine him grown. Standing has that amazing effect; I’m sure when he begins walking, it’ll be even more apparent. It takes more imagination to picture your baby as an adult when they can’t hold up their heads, can’t sit up on their own, can’t support the weight of their little bodies. But when they stand, something changes. Even with their chubby cheeks, tiny fingers and toes (though not as tiny as they once were), and mostly toothless smile, when your little baby stands up on his own, the world can change. It did for me.
As John stood there, I could picture him standing by our door, ready for his first day of Kindergarten, backpack on and lunch bag in hand. I could picture him coming home from baseball practice, with stained elbows and knees. I could picture him bringing little friends over for play dates, stacking blocks and creating Lego masterpieces. I could picture him walking through our front door, leading his first crush by the hand while Andrew and I stood by waiting to meet her. It was so easy to picture my little boy as a grown man as he stood there. As he stood there, all on his own, his own little person.
In the first months of parenthood, there are so many “moments.” The first time your heart swells with love for your new baby. The first time he smiles up at you. The first time he rolls over, sits up, baby talks to you. His first foods, his first night in his own room. And then there’s the first time he stands up without your help, the first time you look over to find that your little boy has pulled himself up onto his feet all by himself. And you realize that your little baby is not so little anymore, that he’s growing up before your eyes, that he doesn’t need you in the same way that he once did. He is becoming his own little person, with his own little (or big) personality. And as you witness this one ‘first’ of so many, you cannot help but feel your heart expand as you fall more deeply in love with your child.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!