Thursday, April 06, 2006

What a Mom Never Outgrows

The other night when lying with my 8 year old son before kissing him goodnight, I placed my palmed hand along the side of his face, as I always do, enjoying the feel of his lusciously soft skin, moving my hand slowly along the curve of his cheek to at the base of his chin, skimming over the slgitly upturned corners of his mouth as he smiles at my touch.

He’s still my baby and even at 8, he likes being stroked. He is a cuddler, can’t get enough caressing, will let me rub his back any time, any place. In the dimness of the bedroom, lit by his 15 watt NY Giants lamp, the warm light now caresses his features, and for a moment I am thrown back years. What mother has not watched, with disbelief and aching joy, the smooth roundness of her baby’s cheek, and lingered on the fleeting beatury of the spot where the light catches the child’s eye, outlining lids, eyelashes, rounded eyelids, and the space between the inner corner of the eye and the bottom of the eyebrow? For a moment, his 8-year-old features seemed so soft and new and had the nearly-alien look of cherubic loveliness that all babies exude.

“I don’t ever want you to leave me, Mom,” he says, clutching my hand, nuzzling into the space between my jaw and my collarbone.

“I’m always here with you,” I say, touching his chest. “in your heart, even when I’m not with you. You know that, right?”

“I know.” He nods. “Even when you’re passed away, right?”

“Even then.”

At that moment, I’m not sure if I’ve done an excellent job teaching my precious child about the circle of life (or at least exposed him to The Lion King enough times), or if maybe I was too matter-of-fact in my discussions when our Aunt Mary died recently.

Either way, it makes me ache to have had my children in my early 20s instead of late 30s.


Dave said...

That's beautiful. I became a parent at 39 and wish we had her when we planned (30). I would've had more of the required energy. But every age gives you different strengths to help raise these guys. I don't think you can ever second guess the age you should've had them. Just be lucky they're healthy and give you joy.

Lara said...

From one 29 year old who desperately wishes she had children by now, but doesn't even have a boyfriend, much less a husband and potential father, That last line really bit me. I have godchildren who are 10 and 4. I have a friend, my age, who has an 8 year old and a 3 year old.

It's funny how when we're growing up (in the true nature of the phrase) we envision our lives a certain way, with milestones at certain ages, and then oh so rarely does anything ever turn out the way we'd dreamed.

If my life were actually what I'd dreamt, I'd be celebrating my eldest child's 5th birthday, having given birth only after returning from a 4 year stint in Africa studying Mountain Gorillas. I'd have met the husband (and father to my children) of my dreams there, I'd have gotten pregnant and had to return home. I'd have written a novel of my experiences, and I'd have STILL been running my business like I am right now.

Alas, the only part of that which holds true today is the part about my business. *sigh* And it's been 4 years since I've even had anything remotely resembling a relationship - with a grand total of 3 dates since.

I think my 30th birthday present to myself is going to be a visit to a sperm bank. LOL