Posted by: angelnorman | March 26, 2010

Five.

Last night before dinner, the boys and I went outside to play.

I watched Nicholas as he played kickball with Mike in the front yard, and I listened to him as he barked orders at Mike. “Get it, Daddy! Kick it high! Watch me do this special trick!” And in watching him, I remembered fondly all of the funny things he used to say as a baby. “Mono” for motorcycle; “Melmo” for Elmo. “Nick-Donalds” for McDonald’s.  I remembered how he giggled, and how he thought Mike was the center of the universe especially when Mike pinned him to the couch and tickled him till he couldn’t stand it anymore.  I thought about the nightly snuggles, about how tiny he was then, and about how easy it was to pick him up and hold him in my arms.

Before I knew it, I was in tears.

It’s hard sometimes to look at Nick and not feel a longing for his baby self. The best way I can explain it is that it is as though I have two separate kids- the baby Nick and the big boy Nick. I feel as though the baby Nick has been taken from me- kidnapped- and I feel a little disturbed by the ache that I feel in my heart when I yearn for baby Nick. And then sometimes I look at the big boy that he has become and I am so grateful that he is turning into such an awesome person. He cracks me up on a daily basis (When he was three, and when I’d laugh at him, he’d say, “Mama, do I crack you?” Not crack me up. Just crack me.) He amazes me with the things he can do, the things he says. Two nights ago, I asked him to eat three more bites of his spaghetti. After that, I asked him to eat three more bites of his beans. “That’ll be my sixth bite!” He said, matter-of-factly, and it sort of blew me away. I often forget that he can do simple math sometimes.

But I digress. It’s just hard for me to remember that it’s the same kid, and that’s my point. Baby Nick and boy Nick are so very different.

He doesn’t act the same. He doesn’t look the same. He doesn’t talk the same. He definitely doesn’t smell the same. Yet deep down in there is my baby, buried underneath the layers of the bike-riding, videogaming, sassy-pants boy I see every single day.

And sometimes when I really watch him, I see my baby in there, too. He’s in those smiles, those giggles, those late-night snuggles we still try to have. He’s in the way he says certain words like “Sherry” (She-wee) and “chocolate” (chot-lick). He’s in every tearful moment, in every conversation we share. And oh how I love him.

I will never know how to parent a child without wrapping my arms around him twenty thousand times a day. I don’t see how some people can not be in love with their kids.

‘Cause despite the tears I often cry over him, I wouldn’t change a hair on his head.

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