Holding On

As I sit on the couch, I hear a thud.

I am startled.

I hear a whimper. And then footsteps.

He stumbles through the hall holding his head. When I ask what happened, he mumbles something about hitting his head on the bed.

In flannel Diary of a Wimpy Kid pajama pants, he climbs onto the couch and slides across my body. He settles in – on my lap. His lanky arms wind around my neck and he holds on tight.

I tickle his bare back. I close my eyes. I bury my nose in his hair and inhale until my lungs fill with air. I run my finger down his cheek and try my best to count his eyelashes. I take note of several light freckles scattered on his cheeks. There is a faint mark on his nose, no doubt left by the black glasses that he couldn’t be talked out of. He is missing three teeth (must get a picture tomorrow) and needs a haircut.

I want so badly to soak up this perfect moment. I long for the image of his sweet face to be engraved forever in my brain. I want to remember the ease with which he slid into my arms and how perfectly my arms wrapped around his little body. I want to remember his smell.

There will soon come a day when he will no longer want me to hold him. Even now, he rarely sits still long enough to count his fingers, much less his eyelashes. He is fiercely independent and strives to be good at everything he does. He can match clothing better than most adults. He is the tallest kid in his class, and takes great pride in his work. He is rough and tumble and cuddly and loveable. He is a responsible allergic kid and would want you to know that he has the most Accelerated Reader points in his class. He loves to play Legos with his big brother and taught himself to ride a bike. His laugh brings joy to even the worst of days.

A whopping ten-pounds, five-ounces at birth, he was the biggest infant in the nursery. At his most recent well-child visit, his pediatrician charted his growth to be well above average. At his current rate of growth, he is slated to be a 6-foot, 4-inch man averaging 220 pounds. That seems impossible. He will always be my baby.

This child – this sweet, lovable child – is like me in so many ways. I see myself in so many of his mannerisms, and I smile. He is the child my mom hoped I would have. The one who would be just like me.

It is late. I should send him back to bed, but I don’t want this moment to end. I hug him a little tighter, I hold him a little longer, and I take a deep breath.

And then I exhale thinking I am the luckiest mama in the world.

I love you sweet boy! You will never ever know how much you mean to me!

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