We were in the living room yesterday – Rich, Ethan, and I. I got up to go into the kitchen, which is still in view, and Ethan—until then happily sitting with Rich—burst into tears. Big, fat crocodile tears to accompany the short intakes of breath that merely served, it appeared, to give him enough lung power to wail.
I sort of knew how he felt.
He has, quite suddenly and for no reason that I can ascertain, developed a bit of separation anxiety. Always a mama’s boy, he has turned especially clingy. If I had apron strings I’m sure he would tie himself to them. And part of me would like it—does like it—because he is my baby. But not for long.
He will turn one in exactly a month, and the thought causes panic to rise in my chest. It makes me teary. Literally, as in needing-Kleenex-when-I-think-about-his-birthday-as-I’m-driving-down-the-street teary.
I don’t remember feeling this way about Connor’s first birthday. But then again most things feel different this time around.
Ethan gave me the new-mom experience I wanted. He gave me smiles and cuddles and belly laughs. He happily allowed himself to be toted around, whether on day trips outside the city or simply to the mall. He showed me that if you work at it, sometimes babies are pretty good at going to sleep on their own. (And sometimes they’re not.)
Connor gave me my mama badge, to be sure, but Ethan gave me peace. He made some of that stuff from last time that made me hate myself feel okay again.
When I go into the kitchen, I always come back to him, the same mama who left only moments before. But every day the baby he was is disappearing before my eyes. The little boy he’s becoming will be wonderful too, I know, but I’m just not ready. So when he cries for me I reach for him and hold on.