Ethan comes up onto my bed to lay down for a moment. He puts his head on my shoulder.
“You’re getting so big. What am I going to do when you get bigger… too big for me?” I ask.
He thinks about it. “You’ll just be a mom with a bigger son,” he decides.
“But what if you don’t like me?” I posit. Evidently I’m feeling desperate and needy tonight, I think.
“I won’t. I won’t ever do that.” He gets optimistic when he’s in a good mood. Logos, however, is always in my mind. I can just see it now: I take his car keys away, and he says I definitely DO like you right now!!!
“I don’t know about that,” I reason.
He gives me a tight squeeze and says “I’ll always love you, mom.”
And suddenly I’m crying hot tears onto his shower-wet head, and I’m praying I don’t sniffle and he notices. How can I keep this moment? How can I possibly have this be the baseline for my days, weeks, and months when he’s gone…both now and when he’s grown?
He lays with me for a minute or two before I shoo him away to read his book (and dry his hair off) while I sneakily wipe tears from my cheeks.
And now I’m wondering where ten years went. Why do parents only get eighteen years to do this job right? It’s pretty damn important. Why less than two decades when I get to spend three or four perfecting my career? I only have seven and a half years left!!
I am guessing this time table is why people have more than one child… because I could see myself definitely having a better handle on this after child #3 or 4. (Which is to, of course, promote an assumption that children are somehow manageable and not innately their own individual selves upon birth. Ha! How silly of me!)
I, however, am hoping to get it right with just this one… I’m going to invest in his optimism throughout the next seven and a half years. I wager that the return on investment is likely pretty grand.