Yesterday was quite interesting.
See, for months now,
my firstborn has been asking to ride shotgun.
And we’ve been saying no,
because according to that sticker near my car’s vanity mirror,
the backseat is the safest for kids.
In the past few weeks, however, hubby relented.
He let J sit in the front seat.
I guess he couldn’t argue with his son’s logic:
“My friends sit in the front seat all the time, and I’m taller than them!”
So yesterday, we went on a hunt for my sister’s birthday gift.
It was a warm, Spring-y day, and I agreed to sit in the back with E.
E thought it was a treat in itself,
“Like when I was a baby and you sat beside my car seat all the time, Mommy.”
But J, oh he was King of the Road!
You would think we were going on a road trip.
I sat in the back and thought about how my firstborn was slipping away from me…
Oh, I’ve noticed how he hasn’t been holding my hand for years now,
and how he would only kiss me at home,
when he thought no one was looking.
Instead of Mommy,
he calls me Mom (when he remembers to stop at the first syllable).
and he thinks a wave goodbye is just as good as the tight hugs his brother specializes in.
But yesterday I was sulking, because,
today he’s in the front seat,
tomorrow he’ll be driving.
In four years, to be exact.
Then what am I to do?
His father didn’t seem to be bothered by any of these.
They were trading jokes and wet willies
and the not-so-little one beside me was laughing along.
For a moment I was ignored,
and I closed my eyes and pretended to take a nap.
But snapshots my heart took and stored went flashing through my head
And what I was seeing was…
J when he was four and looking lost while at the airport.
He was clutching his “Gigo,” his favorite pillow,
whose existence he has now pushed to the furthest part of his brain.
Time was, he would never go anywhere without it.
taken just last summer, during our trip to the Outer Banks.
He couldn’t stop talking about, “all the cool, warrior stuff. And do you think I look like one, Daddy?”
Sigh, but reality bites,
even in our imaginations.
It bit hard as I saw this next,
taken just last week at his Winter Strings Concert.
Poor ole mother’s heart.
How do we spend everyday with our children and not notice how fast they grow?
And how do the years slip by so relentlessly and not pay heed to a mother’s yearning heart?
Our boys and girls shoot up,
unnoticed and unhindered,
until one day we look up and see our child’s face smiling down at us.
Then time grounds to a perfect still,
and everything that seemed so important pale in comparison.
We reach with shaking hands to touch that dear child’s cheek,
and in that touch,
images like those above flash through our hearts and minds.
The child, not understanding,
knowing only that the day waits to be conquered,
skips away with a laugh,
and our sighs fade to the background.
There’s no catching up, there’s no reprieve.
There’s only today.
It’s a mother’s burden to carry,
but I’m also coming to see
that the joys each day holds
will always make up for the nostalgia waiting tomorrow.
Final mental picture-
our family portrait now looks like this: