This week, my favorite 22-month old made the monumental jump into his toddler bed after co-sleeping for the majority of his life. Now that he's finally in his own room, a milestone for which I've earnestly prayed, I am missing him terribly and realizing suddenly ... I'm not ready.
Can everything just slow down, please?
Do you know what he said to me the other day?
I was picking him up from school and he'd made a super cool piece of art (yes, art) - three bright, blue overlapping handprints. Like most kids, he brings home art all the time - drawings and paintings and crafts - but I knew this one was special as soon as I saw it. I could just imagine those chubby little hands being pressed against that all-too-familiar off-white construction paper as he shrieked with joy. My heart melted instantly.
Of course, Lincoln was delighted to show me his latest masterpiece and bashful at my praise. He smiled, diverting his eyes shyly.
"Oh woooow! They're so preeeeetty!" I swooned, using words we practice often. And even though my husband probably would have preferred another word over "pretty," because #manrules, Lincoln beamed proudly and flashed his signature grin - the one with the dimple in his right cheek that makes him look so very much like his dad.
Pleasantries now complete, we shuffled through our usual afternoon routine of putting on his gloves, then his hat, then his coat. Following the snap of the very last button, I did a quick scan of the room to make sure I wasn't leaving anything.
"All ready?" I asked, finally, his lunchbox in hand, keys and cellphone in pocket and backpack tucked safely under my arms.
"Papers!" Lincoln exclaimed, pointing to the table where I'd left his artwork.
What did he just say?
I almost died. Nearly fainted right there in the Chatty Chipmunks class on the white speckled tile adjacent Lincoln's cubby. Jesus had never been nearer.
Did my baby just say ... "papers?!"
I told this story to some coworkers at lunch today while they smiled politely, waiting for the kicker ....
Yep, that was the kicker.
It hit me soon after - as my friends laughed politely, albeit sympathetically - that I am now officially that mom. I have joined an elite club of women who get all weepy eyed at the smallest gestures because we are seeing life happen right in front of us, every minute. I stop meetings to circulate real-time pictures of Lincoln's daily activities at school (some of you reading know this to be true!) I keep track of every new word. I store millions of photos of him on my iPhone until I absolutely have to transfer them, only to start all over. Nothing brings my heart more joy than hearing, "Haffi go potty," especially when he's not crying wolf. Or when he shrieks with delight at the sight of me coming to pick him up in the evenings, running at me full-force and crashing into all the love these two arms can hold.
This was never supposed to happen. I imagined myself as "cool" mom. "Trendy" mom. "Soccer" mom. Instead I ended up as "emotional wreck" mom.
The irony of it all? That's strangely ok with me.