My first born is turning 8 and starting second grade. He’s feeling excited and I’m feeling emotional. He is thinking of new things he will get to do with his older age and I’m thinking about all the things he won’t ever do again. He won’t sit on my lap, tell me if a kid is mean to him like he used to do, or ask me to play ninja turtles. It’s so amazing to see who he is becoming with each passing year but it’s also bittersweet.
One day when he reads this, I hope it will help him to cherish all of the firsts we had together and the lessons learned. I hope it will help him to soak up his time with his first born and to grasp how special it really is.
You will never be my only, but you will always be my first.
You may get the least of my attention now, but you taught me how to give it.
You may think I’ve been your teacher, but really, you’ve always been mine.
I still remember every detail from the day you were born. Details I don’t remember with your brother.
I remember all the fears that I didn’t have with him. I can still feel all the self-doubt and hesitancy I had about being your mom. I remember the hundreds of birth stories I read while pregnant. The six times I went to the emergency room because I felt like “something was wrong”- you were perfect. The way I cared about which bottle brand to use, and whether or not you would use a binkie. The way I obsessed over your sleeping schedule and fretted over how much T.V you watched. The way I swaddled you until you were seven months old because I thought it comforted you. The time I burst into the bedroom to wake up your Dad in the middle of the night the first time you smiled at eight weeks old, and he thought the house was burning down. The guilt I felt over not breastfeeding. The anguish I put myself through over every tummy ache, every acid reflux flare up, and every cry I couldn’t fix. The panic I felt in my throat and my heart the first time I took you to daycare. The way I chased you around with yogurt trying to spoon feed you when you went through your first picky toddler stage. The overwhelming sense of guilt I felt when I brought your brother home from the hospital, and it wasn’t just us anymore. The way you put on a brave face on your first day of Kindergarten when I knew how scared you were.
You don’t like that your little brother usually gets what he wants because he’s 3, and you may not like that you have to wait for his mood to change before we can go spend your birthday money, or go to the pool, or do anything, but you rarely complain. And when you do complain, I tell you not to, and I expect you to understand like the 8-year-old you are- the 8-year old I don’t want you to be. I probably confuse you- I confuse myself. I expect you to “act your age, ” but I miss you being 3. I miss your sweet little voice and your endless quests to get me to “watch this mommy.” I miss the summer before your brother was born and we went to the park together every day because I didn’t have to work. I miss you needing me more than you do now and more than you ever will again.
You’re so big now, and I’m more than proud. But, I’m also sad to see my little boy go and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m glad I have all these precious memories to look back on in the moments you look at me and strike me with your maturity. I’m grateful I have these memories to remember each time you have a new first, and I feel the excitement that you are growing up, but heartsick that I can’t pause it.
Even though you will be forever growing, I will forever be your mommy, and you will forever be my little boy.