Sunday, January 6, 2013

I will always come.

I’m tired and he’s tired.  We’ve had bath time, read (and re-read) books on laps until he’s dozed off.   I’ve washed the dishes.  I’ve stacked the dishwasher.  I’ve pumped my breasts and packaged homemade baby food into containers for tomorrow.  I’ve already put him to bed more than once tonight. (Being sick with ear infections and croup have us both on edge.)  He’s lying in his crib, with his eyes trained on the door.  He cries softly. He knows I’m close.  And when I pull back the creaky door and see his body craning toward me, arms stretched out as far as he can reach, and that relieved look on his sweet little face, I want to wrap my whole life around him.

I'm holding him now, his little arms wrapped tightly around my neck, heart beating against my heart.  His cold little hands find my cheek, and slowly begin the ritual stroking of my face in the dark.  He finds my breast and drinks himself into a milky oblivion.  His hair is so soft and warm and sweaty, and his pudgy baby cheek fits just right under my chin.  I dance with him slowly – the rock and roll of motherhood – and I know this is a promise I can stake my life on.
I will always come.
When he forgets his lunch.  When he is donkey number 3 in the Christmas play.  When he takes up the recorder and bleats all the way through the Easter service.  When he’s singing, “Jesus loves me this I know” in the front row of a school concert and means it with every tiny, beautiful, miraculous part of his DNA.  When he has his first base hit in the big tee ball game.  When he gets a bad haircut (and braces).  When he thinks he wants to be an NBA player, and then swears off basketball all together.
I will always be there.
When the mean kids make him want to shrivel inside his skin.  When a teacher intimidates him in front of the class.  When he intimidate the teachers with his bright, little mind.  When he thinks he can sing and tries out for a musical.  When he gets laughed at and people point fingers at his hair or his shoes or his too skinny legs.
I will always be there.

When that special girl breaks his heart.  When he needs a safe ride home from a party (no questions asked).  When he’s stranded at a college miles away, I will come. When he changes majors for the sixth time or the job he thought was part of his calling falls through. When he gets sick. When he loses a good friend. When the car crashes. When he runs out of gas, chocolate chip cookies, and faith.
I will always come.
When he says his “I do’s” and starts his “happily ever after’s.” Or, when none of it quite feels like he thought it would. When he doesn’t know how to pick out a mattress, clean mildew out of the bathtub, file his taxes, or determine if the sofa is in the right place.  When he packs boxes, moves, and moves, and then relocates again.  When the baby won’t sleep and the world is on fire with sleep exhaustion.  When toddlers make him question his sanity.
I will always come.
Even if he realizes that he’s made the worst mistake a man can make, I will still be there.  When he’s run out of tears and yet the tears keeping coming.  When he doesn't know where he’s going.  When he’s holding onto faith by just his fingernails.
I will always come.

And when his home is warm and his heart is full.  When he’s at peace.  When he needs someone to share the joy, to watch the kids, to admire the dimples.  When he wants to remember that old recipe for Tom and Jerry’s, when he still can’t pick out the right mattress, when he wishes he’d never said “yes” to the dog.

Alex, always I will come.
With all of my heart, I promise that I will always help you get back on your feet.
I will always hold your hand.
I will rejoice.  I will babysit.  I will pass the tissues.  I will wash the dishes.

Just like my mother has always been there for me.
 Just as she boarded a train this morning
(and will board a train every Sunday morning for the next several months)
 to travel hours to watch my son because I am too tired of him being sick from daycare.  And to save me from going mad trying to juggle a more-than-full-time job with first-time motherhood, to help me dust and wash windows and be all-the-domestic-woman that I currently struggle to be.

I will always come.
Tonight.  Tomorrow.
And the day after. And after.  And then some.

Love always,
Your mom

~photos by b~

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