Saturday, March 23, 2013

As Long as I'm Living, My Baby You'll Be

Dustin and Mac started fighting tonight (as they often do) just before bedtime.  I interceded (as I often do) and had a long talk with Mac about his stinky attitude and his behavior that could have been handled differently.

When I was pretty much all talked out, I made him stand up and come and sit on my lap.  I was sitting in our office chair and so it was awkward to have him sit there, but I did it anyway.  

As he, this boy who is taller than me and almost outweighs me, sat on my lap, I looked down at his hands.  They looked so BIG.  I held them up, matching them to my hands and was astonished to find his fingers were about 3/4" longer than mine.  

I asked him, "When did your hands get so BIG?!  Weren't our hands just the same size about 3 months ago?  How could they have grown so fast?"

He didn't answer because he was still mad at me.  

I tried to pull his legs up into my arms, but they were too far away and too heavy for me to move easily and he took pity on his old mom and lifted his leg up.  When I had both his legs in my right arm, I moved his head back into the crook of my left arm and pretended to rock him like a baby.  (I do this now and then when he's mad at me... I'm so mean.)

We talked a little bit more and, as I held him and contemplated his big hands and growing body that I so awkwardly held, I remembered holding him and rocking him as a baby and a little boy.  I would sing to him then:

You are my sunshine, 
my only sunshine.  
You make me happy 
When skies are grey.  

You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Oh please don't take
My sunshine away.

The other night, dear,
While I was sleeping,
I dreamed I held you 
In my arms.

And when I woke up 
You were right beside me
And so I held you close to my heart.

(I changed the lyrics on the last bit because the real ones were too sad to sing to my baby boy)

I asked him if he remembered how I would always sing him that song.  He replied, "Yes, and it would always make me cry."

I continued to cradle him and began stroking his stylishly long hair.  I started humming the tune of 'You Are My Sunshine' out loud to him, my twelve and a half year-old son.  He had his eyes closed, and I stroked his forehead and cheeks like I used to do when he was a baby as I hummed the song of his infancy.

I, then, watched as a small miracle occurred.  After one time through the song, my boy-giant's face suddenly relaxed.  His head flopped back just a little more in the crook of my arm.  His eyes started shifting around behind his eyelids and his breathing changed into something slow and relaxed.  I continued humming, voice cracking and tears leaking from my eyes, as the river of love I have for this boy burst it's banks and flooded my heart, penetrating every cell.  Every atom.

A gift was mine this night.  My baby boy-giant had fallen asleep in my arms.  I kept humming and crying as I wrestled with Memory to find the image, the weight, the feeling of the 2 week-old, the 2 year-old, the 5 year-old, the 8 year-old or the 10 year-old version of this amazing child.  They all warred with the boy-giant I held in this moment.  My mind railed against Time and begged for just a moment with that sleeping boy of years past.

I kept crying and stopped singing.  I almost wondered, for a moment, if he was teasing me and pretending to be asleep, but his breathing was steady.  I watched him breathe for a long time, wishing for the moment to linger.

In the end it was my legs that gave out.  His 117 pounds were too much for them.  I stroked his face again while saying his name and, with a start, his bright blue eyes opened.  He was confused.  I was still crying as he sat up and hugged me, letting me kiss him and tell him what an amazing being he is.  I sent him off to bed with as many I love yous as I could get out of my mouth.

I know there will come a day when I will cry for this 117 pound boy-giant... with his first stubble after his first shave.  This boy with the cracking voice and the laugh that still ping-pongs between man and child.  This boy who eats, and eats, and eats, and eats because each of his ten fingers has to grow 3/4" in just a few months.  I know that someday I will fight to recall this version of Mac and so I write.  Tonight I write with the hope of searing this beautiful, twelve year-old boy-giant into my memory.  My beautiful Mac.