|Jimmy and Me.
Photo credit: Becky Gardner Photography
Today, at Monkey Joes in Sterling, VA, my son melted my heart for the 8 millionth time. After slowly accruing 90 tickets by smashing weasles and playing toddler basketball, we walked to the prize counter. I fully expected him to pick out a car, tattoos, or stickers. I did not expect him to point to a box, turn to me, and say “Mommy, do you want a wing”?
|My Princess Diana ring, from my 3.5 year old son, Jimmy. I will not be taking this off.|
I will start at the beginning.
On a particularly awful mothers day, a day in which I was at one of the lowest points of my health, he came into my bedroom where I was lying down, unable to will myself out of bed. Wearing his pajama top, diaper and little-boy dress up shoes (he must’ve scrounged around for them in his closet), he said “Mommy, will you marry me? I put on my wedding shoes”. Important Note: He did not know it was Mothers Day. He was 2 years old. I began to cry, and he naturally hugged me, not knowing what was the matter. He took my hand and said “come with me, Princess”. He led me down the stairs, holding my hand the entire way, and saying “come with me, Princess!”. I have never felt more like royalty in my entire life. Such was the beginning of the special relationship between mother and son, that my own mother revealed to me the day she learned the gender of my then 18-week old fetus.
Raising my son has been the most difficult experience of my life. He broke all of my joyful assumptions about having a baby. #1: My beautiful and spiritual “natural” childbirth lasted 22 hours; after 15 of the most excructiatingly painful hours of my life, a place in which I actually felt the presence of death, I watched in literal horror as each and every item on my meticulously developed birth plan was broken. He was born in “fetal distress”, gray and lifeless. Though, when I saw the human form emerge from my body, a joy and love equal to the horror I had just experienced erupted in my soul. I cried so intensely from the feeling that the doctors and nurses assumed I was crying from pain or fear for my son. I didn’t care to correct them; this was between me; the swollen and bloody wreck of a woman in the bed, and the gray, lifeless child, yards away from me surrounded by medical personnel. He recovered quickly, though, thank God. My arms burned for him, and unthinking, I began screaming for him. My husband, desperate after our shared experience, grabbed him from a nurse (he was fine at that point, “they just needed to weigh him” [please!!]), and finally placed him on my breast. Our eyes met, and what can only be described in my Italian Grandfathers words, our “simpatico” came to life.
Joyful assumption #2: Aren’t newborns supposed to cuddle? My son required, very loud, very fast electronic dance music, as well as very intense, very exhausting dance moves (by mommy, duh. Infants can’t dance), in order to go to sleep. For the first 3 months of life. And people wondered how I lost the baby weight. Well, I’d gladly have kept it!
But I’ll stop there with the “crushed” dreams; what parents ideals and daydreams aren’t shattered with the realities of having a child? The truth is that our dreams never come close to the depth of pure joy that DOES come with parenthood.
My son, Jimmy, is now 3.5 years old. Every day, he does something that brings more joy to my soul than I could’ve ever dreamed of (kinda like how delivering him brought more pain to my body than I thought remotely possible). It’s like this; children take your pea-sized world of emotion and experience, and blow it up to the size of the Moon.
Jimmy brings me flowers… and jewelry!
Jimmy kisses my nose, my hands, and my forehead.
Jimmy tells me I’m pretty
Jimmy tells me that he likes my dress, or my shoes, or my nail polish.
Jimmy calls me his “Princess.”
Jimmy folds laundry, and he enjoys it.
Jimmy blows my mind every. single. day.
Jimmy is my knight in shining, blue-eyed, rosy-cheeked, curly-haired, armor. His laugh is my opium. His face is my sunshine. His hug is my hearth.
|Photo credit: Becky Gardner Photography|
What’s next for us? Hopefully a baby girl one of these days!… but wouldn’t mind another boy ; )
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