I have always loved children.
I just didn’t want any of my own.
In fact if anyone from more than about 10 years ago in my life were to read this right now, they would be side-swiped by my dramatic 180 degree turn on having children. Despite loving them, I didn’t every ever want to go through the pain, sacrifice, anxiety, mess and expense of having any "rug rats" of my own.
Little did I know when I had a child that such a little creature would be capable of stealing the very breath from chest.
I don’t think that this is surprising to anyone who already has children in their lives. But to me, to find out the power one tiny little boy would wield over my heart has been surprising.
He’s such a beautiful child – aren’t they all?????? – and has such a depth of understanding.
Children have a much simpler way of navigating the world. They say what they mean and they mean what they say. They like what they like and they are willing to experiment. They observe us and those of influence around them and they make their own choices about what seems good and right. They are brave and adventurous, strong and resilient, and more than any other creature on earth, they live in the now.
How much we could all learn from the simple and unadorned way a child lives, loves, grows and develops. All of our lives should be so pure and full of good intention and high adventure.
This one knows the inroads to Mommy’s heart. He is highly skilled at communicating with me exactly what he means.
Sometimes its how he acts – like a freely given hug, a kiss on the hand, a jump right into my lap, or wandering up to my side to take my hand.
He will clean his own plate, throw trash away and put his shoes where they “go” without having to be asked by me.
He will wander off to another room and come back with a stack of books, sit at my feet and read by himself.
Sometimes its in how proud he is of things he’s accomplished. I LOVE hearing, “Mommy! Look at me!” and then seeing him master a dance move, climb to the top of a very high slide, or race his trike around the kitchen island.
He’s always proud to show me the good marks on his school calendar, or describe how he made an art project.
I even love it when he “corrects” me with the right words to a song or a poem.
But the place where I catch my breath the most is when he speaks with me. I've always conversed with him as though he were an intelligent human being - no baby talk, no weird sounds. We just talk. As I’ve said often, he has been a very verbal guy for a very long time. And its in the sweet things that come out of his mouth that I find myself wanting to stop time, to hold just one minute, to rewind and play it again.
Like when he sneezed and his ears got plugged up. He said, “Mommy, can you fix my sound?”
Or when he asks, “Mommy? Do you want to be Princess Jasmine or Cinderella?”
Or when he says, “Mommy! We should pray!”
But never more…never more does my heart skip a beat than when he says, unsolicited and out of nothing but his own heart, “I wuv you mom!”
My whole world pivots on those precious words. There is nothing like it on the planet…and for that moment, all the world stands still and I am breathless.