I read this article the other night, and before I knew it, tears were involuntarily pouring and running down my cheeks. This lady was talking about her boys, and how they are no longer chubby cheeked toddlers, but these little mini-men who were pulling away into lives of their own, and my heart shattered.
I have three boys, spanning in age from 13-4. There is a big gap in there because the youngest is a product of my second marriage, and what I fondly call my “second chance at a happy ending”. My husband swooped in and saved me from myself, showed me that love is real, how it feels, and how swollen a heart can get when it is literally overflowing with love. I have ALWAYS adored my boys; for the longest time, they were the only source of my heart swelling feelings. Then I had a third little boy and got remarried, and now my heart is so full, it feels like it couldn’t possibly fill any more. But then I think about everything these boys are going to do and become, and I’m reminded of just how much more love I am going to encounter in my life.
My oldest is about to turn 13. A teenager. Really? How did that happen? I realize time has passed, I’m not that daft. But it feels like just a few months ago I was bringing this tiny little thing with a white-blonde mohawk home from the hospital. My first kid, at the absurdly young age of just 22. And there we were, learning it all together. He was a lot of firsts for me, the biggest being the first time I felt true, deep and real love. Until I held him in my arms, I just had no idea how real love felt.
Then came my second bouncing baby, a mere 2 years and 3 months later. This one was a bit more of a struggle to get into the world. He’s been a stubborn little shit from the get-go. But again, I held him in my arms, and my heart pounded in a different way than it had even earlier that day. Having kids changes you. You don’t make room in your heart for them, your heart grows to accommodate all of the new love for these tiny little pieces of you.
It was many years before my uterus housed another rib-cage orangutan. My oldest was 8 and middle was 6 when the final addition to our family came into the world. After my first two boys, and my husband and love of my life, I didn’t think my heart could grow bigger or pound harder than they made it, but I was wrong. My littlest guy was the final piece of our puzzle, and my heart finally felt complete.
These little humans, these little pieces of me, they will always be my baby’s. From the moment they were a thought, until this very second, I have been around for every single moment of their lives. I know their looks, their tones, their noises, their laughs, their snores, their souls.. They are the best pieces of me and the biggest part of my heart.
Every time I refer to one of them as my “baby” I get a fresh serving of hell from certain people in my life. I’m not calling them a baby, nor am I being a clingy helicopter mom. But let’s face it, whether anyone approves or agrees, those three will always be my baby’s. When I look at them, I can still hear their baby noises in my head, remember my first scary moment with them, remember their first laughs, their favorite first foods, hear their tiny little cries, remember when they crawled, walked, ran, jumped, hurt themselves, said mommy.. Even typing it, my heart is pounding differently.
People may get defensive and combative about mothers and their “special” bond with their children. That’s not to say that dads don’t feel things, too. But at the end of the day, my bond and attachment with my kids will always be a million times different than anyone else’s, because regardless of how much daddy’s love their baby’s, my kids heard my heart beat from the inside. Sure, they are half their fathers, but kids physically take, and keep, parts of their moms from when they were in the womb. I will always have a special attachment to my kids. And it will always be something that no one but me will understand or feel.
Thinking about them growing up, not hugging me anymore, never being home, choosing their girlfriends over family time, going off to college, getting their own homes, having their own lives.. It makes me proud and excited, but it pulls at my heart – the heart that each of them helped build and expand – and it turns on my eyeball faucets. I’m so excited for their futures, because I know I’ve raised them to be the best versions of themselves.. But for now, for the time I have left, I’m going to kiss their foreheads while they sleep, rub their heads while they have breakfast in their pajamas, let them hug me a million times a day, smile when they call me mommy (mom is not far off), watch cartoons with them on Saturdays, laugh at their really silly jokes, listen to their stories, and look into their sweet innocent eyes – the same eyes I looked into when they were only minutes old.
They’re my baby’s. They always will be. And even when they’re too old to call me mommy, that’s who I’m always going to be.