Two and a half years ago I had my first baby. My sweet boy quickly became my world. He consumed my time and filled almost every thought. That tiny babe was so sweet and perfect and handsome and every time I looked at him I couldn’t believe that I was chosen to be his mommy. I was the one who got to attend to his every need. He depended on me for everything and I LOVED IT.
That baby has now grown into a spunky little boy who is curious and busy and discovering that it’s a lot of fun to be independent. He now wants to climb in the car and buckle himself in, and yells “No mommy!” when I try to help him. He wants to peel his own bananas and unwrap his own suckers. And heaven forbid if I put the sticker on his potty chart. “Stop it! I do it, momma!”
During those moments it hits me that he’s growing up, and that this precious time I have with him is fleeting. But just when I want to go cry in a corner, I hear his voice desperately yell, “HELP! HELP! HELP!” and my sappiness subsides because I’ve been reminded that he’s only two and will actually still need me for quite some time.
And then there are the times I wish he’d grow up just a little quicker. The other day it had been a bear of a morning. He was acting like a typical two year old, stealing toys from his sisters, throwing a tantrum when I asked him to finish his breakfast, chasing the dog with the vacuum, and peeing all over my patio basil plant which I’d been planning to make pesto with that night. He’d put in a full day’s work by 10am. I was frustrated and my patience had worn thin. After he calmed down a bit, I took him upstairs to our room and set him up with a video so I could have a few minutes to salvage my disastrous house [and my sanity].
A few minutes later I went back to check on him, and what I saw stopped me in my tracks. There he was, sitting on the bed squeezing his teddy bear with a look of complete innocence in his eyes. I don’t think there are many things sweeter than seeing a little boy with his teddy. It’s an instant reminder that while they are “all boy” and perfectly rambunctious, determined, and strong-willed, they also have a tender heart that needs to be protected and longs to be loved. When I saw a glimpse of into son’s little heart that morning, all I could do was scoop him up, give him a big hug, kiss him, and tell him how much I love him.
I held him close and thought about how I don’t want a moment of his life to go by without him feeling unconditionally loved. No matter how he acts or what he goes through, I want his heart to be taken care of.
My mind often thinks forward to his future and the fact that I won’t always be the only woman in his life. Someday I’ll entrust that responsibility to a girl who will become his forever love.
In that moment, as I held my sweet boy close, I thought of my husband, who was once a little boy like him. I thought about how he too, started out hugging teddy bears. I thought about his heart, now as a grown man, and how it still needs to be loved and protected. Then I thought about how real life has its grip on him. I thought about him gearing up to go out into the big world day after day, so he can provide for our family. I thought about him having difficult conversations and navigating through intense meetings. I thought about the constant pressure he faces to perform and achieve and how he’s required to beam confidence through it all. But yet at the end of the day, underneath it all there’s still a tender heart yearning to be taken care of.I want home to be a place of refuge for my dear husband. When we see each other after a long day, instead of habitually greeting him by passing off a crabby kid, I need to remember to really take time to look into his eyes and tell him how grateful I am for him and what a great job he does taking care of us. When he’s stressed after a long day, I need to remember that he’s worked just as hard as I have and needs a break too. When he does something that annoys me to the core, I need to respond with patience. When we have arguments, I need to set my pride aside so I can understand where he’s coming from. And even though I’m exhausted most of the time from chasing around the kids, I need to pursue him frequently and prioritize intimacy.
More than anything, I want to remember that I’ve been entrusted with his grown up boy’s heart. I’m the one who gets to see him when he’s vulnerable. I’m the one who needs to recognize those moments, stop in my tracks, hold him close, kiss him, and tell him how much he’s loved.
I get to be the one. I’m his forever love, and as we grow old together, I don’t want a moment of his life to go by without him feeling unconditionally loved.
I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook and Instagram. I’d love for you to follow us along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@amberkuiper) and on Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time).