This morning, before the sun was up, a little blond boy in camoflage jammies crawled into bed next to me. “Mommy,” he whispered, “I’m not five anymore.”
He was right, because in spite of my many protestations his birthday had finally arrived. (Finally for him. Way too soon for me).
He laid there next to me, and we ignored each other’s bed head and morning breath and I told him the story of the day he was born. Parts of the story anyway. I didn’t figure he wanted to know everything. I told him how Daddy and I got up very early that morning to go to the hospital, and how we were so excited because he was coming that day. I told him how the doctor gave me medicine that would help him come out, and how we waited and waited. I told him how special people came and sat with us and waited for the time to be right for him to be born.
I told him how I couldn’t eat anything all day long, and how I was so hungry. I told him how finally it was time to be born, and there he was, and the doctor laid him on a blanket on my tummy and he cried and I cried too. I told him how he wasn’t breathing exactly right so for awhile they had to take him somewhere else to help him breathe, and I told him how very happy I was when he was back in my arms and I could feed him. I told him how bright-eyed and alert he was, taking in his big new world right from the very beginning.
I told him how when Grandma held him she cried, and when he asked why I said because that’s what Grandma does when she’s very very happy. And I told him how much we loved him right from the very beginning, even before he was born, just like we love Baby Sprinkle so much right now.
I told him about his very first bath, and that he didn’t like it at all. I told him that we dressed him up in the funniest little outfit to bring him home in, complete with a little necktie. And I told him how tiny he was when we put him in his great big crib that first night at home.
So much to tell him. So much to say.
So much I didn’t tell him. How that day six years ago feels like yesterday, and yet at the same time feels like a lifetime ago. How could I have lived 24 years without knowing this amazing blond-headed person? I didn’t tell him how scared I was that I would not be a good mother to him, or how much I still worry about the same thing, maybe even more, in spite of six years of experience. I didn’t tell him how exhausted I was, or how frustrating my attempts at nursing were, or how there were moments when I wasn’t sure we had made the right choice to have a baby.
I didn’t tell him that every day for the past six years– every single day– I have lived his heartbreaks and shared his joys. I didn’t tell him that even when he makes me crazy I still look at him in awe and wonder how in the world this incredible whole person could have come from my body.
I didn’t tell him that when he’s at school (even on days when it was such a relief to send him there) my arms ache to hug him.
I didn’t tell him that he carries with him everywhere he goes a piece of who I am– of my hopes, my dreams, my loves, and even my flaws.
What I didn’t tell him– the rest of the story– is not for me to tell. He will learn it for himself someday, when he has children of his own.
And thankfully, even though six is ridiculously big, six is not big enough for that.