As a little girl I made up stories. Lovely, happy stories about how my life would go. I would marry a prince and live in a magical land. But in all of my stories, something was missing. I didn't know what it was. You changed that. You changed me.
I was so overwhelmed and scared when you were born I'm afraid I didn't realize even then what you had done to me. That you had elementally changed me forever. The knowledge came to me quietly, slowly, whispered in the air during 2am feedings and diaper changes. That soft lilting voice grew louder each day until it was screaming in my head, "THIS! THIS IS WHAT I WAS MEANT TO DO! THIS IS WHO I WAS MEANT TO BE!"
Today you turn three. You've started school. You've made new friends. You have a world that doesn't include me, your mommy.
Now it begins. The separation.
This is hard for me, Hollis. You'll forgive me if sometimes I tug too sharply on your hand when you try to walk away, won't you? You see, although I want to see you grow and thrive and become your own self, my heart is bound to yours forever. When I watch you step away from me, my gut screams "NO!" even as my head calmly says "yes."
I see so much of you in me and for almost three years that bound you to me tightly. Swaddled in my safe arms I told you stories and we sang and giggled and counted toes. But I watch you from a distance now. I am an observer to your internal world. But I know that you have such a rich life in your little head. You see fairies in the river, dragons in the sky, and ogres inside little stone huts.
In the corporeal world you approach everything cautiously. New people, new places, new situations all give you pause. But inside? Oh, inside I know that you tame lions and ride elephants and swing through the trees with monkeys.
In the years to come, just remember that I'm trying to let go. I want to let you fly through the air with the birds, but I'll be running along beside you in spirit, with my arms spread wide and flapping to help you soar. I can still help you climb that mountain in the backyard, help you hide from the tickle monster, or teach you to ride that giraffe without a harness. We can sing to the fairies together in sweet, off key harmony. But sometimes, I know that you'll need to sing alone.
When your solitary adventures are done for the day, I hope you'll still crawl into my safe arms for a snuggle and a story. I'll spin you a tale about a beautiful princess who married a prince and had a wonderful family in a magical land with pink skies and emerald grass. I'll tell you about the princess's little boy and his wonderful travels. How he grew to be a thoughtful and handsome young man.
Someday, you'll have to tell me how his story ends.
Happy Birthday, my little man.
Labels: Big H