“Wheee! Turn circles, mommy!” My toddler son and I are swinging on a circle swing in the backyard. He’s sitting next to me, and the curls on the bottom of his neck are wet with sweat from the heat and humidity. With the exception of a slightly different jawline, it’s like looking at my oldest again. No way. It can’t be that I was swinging the soon-to-be college freshman sixteen years ago.
Today I saw a friend’s post on Facebook. She titled it “He’s got one foot out the door.” I’ll give her bragging rights when she gives me permission (she knows who she is🙂). It’s all true. I have literally seen my older son five times (just kidding) since he graduated. He went on a senior trip. He has a girlfriend. He wants to see friends before they all scatter. I ABSOLUTELY get it. I understand. I don’t take it personally. However, I have conflicting emotions.
That baby swinging with me today thinks I created the darn universe. “Mama” is the first word he says every morning. Tonight I covered him with a very special blanket. I told him I bought this blanket just for him before he was born. He said, “Tank you, mama.” And I could have been just as easily been tucking in my older son or my daughter. Time passes and I don’t even notice. And as I watched this baby hold onto me in the swing and follow me around all day completely depending on me, I realized that he won’t be two forever. Eventually, friends will be more fun than mom, a girl will win his heart, and he will move away to college, a job, or whatever else God has for him.
And that’s what it is… a gradual pulling away, an increased independence that just sneaks up on us unsuspecting mamas. One day the baby swing, the next, a car. One moment, sweet cuddles, the next, a quick hug and “I’ll be home by curfew.” They don’t really leave right away, do they? They put one foot out the door. Then the other.
I’ll be waiting to hear that door open and hear, “Hey, mom. I’m glad to be home.”
I’ll be glad, too, son. My door will always be open for you to walk right back in.