You slipped your small hand into mine as we walked through the dimly-lit parking garage on a cool autumnal evening.
Your face beamed, your gait bounced. You were bubbling over.
“I’m so excited, mommy,” you said.
“I’m so excited to just be with you,” I answered.
You beamed again, your gait bounced higher, you bubbled over some more.
My middle born child, my first-born son. I worry about you – are you getting enough attention? Did you get enough time to be a baby before your brother pushed you out of that position? Is your rebellious streak part of who you are or is it because you are three and a half and on the brink of becoming a “big kid” but not quite there yet?
We walked into the “Rock and Roll Bowling” birthday party, the first party in which it was only you, and not your siblings, who were invited.
This time, you didn’t have to ask why you couldn’t go, too.
This time, you didn’t have to cry as I took your older sister to a celebration.
This time, you were the one who selected the gift for your friend.
You were dressed in a sleeveless shirt with a motorcycle on the back and cut-off black pants. Your feet sported unlaced Converse sneakers and your arms wore tattoos of a car and a guitar with wings.
You were “Rock Star Ready” and couldn’t wait to get started.
We played Foosball – you loved it.
You rode a motorcycle poised on a video game – you loved it.
You had the chance to try “the claw” though it was every bit as difficult as I said it would be – and regardless, you loved it.
Intermittently, you hugged my legs and told me how much you loved me while I returned it with one that was even harder and even longer.
“You will never understand how much I love you until you have babies of your own, Sawyer, ” I told him.
Your face beamed, your gait bounced. You continued to bubble over.
You tried your hand at bowling and you were surprised by how fun it could be.
“Will it be dark, mommy?” you asked before we arrived. “Will it be scary?”
After you saw that your mommy was correct – there is nothing scary about bowling – you went full-speed ahead in your little-boy way and flung that six-pound ball down the lane.
“I’m really good at this, Mommy!” you said without a hint humility.
“Yes, you are!” I answered, realizing this was not the time for a lesson on that trait.
This was merely a time to celebrate with my doe-eyed, curly-haired little boy who is so attached to his mama that I often wonder if he would re-enter my womb if given the chance.
This was merely a time to enjoy a few hours with only him and not the others. To have fun together and not be distracted by dirty dishes, unfolded laundry, and toys that needed to be put away.
This was merely a time to simply be in his presence, to notice and marvel at the fact that he seems so much bigger now, to realize how quickly this time is going and to enjoy his little spit-fire personality that is so much like his mother’s.
We devoured our cake and watched the birthday boy open his presents. You rode the motorcycle again because it was your favorite while your mother made a mental note to try and discourage you from ever wanting to ride one.
We thanked our hosts and walked out into the crisp night.
Your face beamed, your gait bounced, and yes, you were still bubbling over.
“Can we do this again sometime?” you asked, hopeful.
“Absolutely,” I answered.