I sat across from Nolan this evening in the dark bathroom, on his second trip to the potty since attempting bedtime an hour previously. I sat on the edge of the tub while he chattered about random things and did nothing resembling actual potty business.
They tell you that time flies, but there is just no way to understand that until you are sitting there, on a cold and somewhat damp tub ledge, watching your firstborn discuss the finer points of playtime etiquette, on the eve of his third birthday.
It could be because so much has happened in the three years since he was born that it seemed to go by incredibly fast, but I know that's not it. It's just the way it goes, for all moms. You blink, and that tiny baby you held in your arms, so new and fascinating, so small and sweet, is a kid. And I know I will blink again and he will be a teenager. And then another blink, and he will be gone. Moved out, moved on, and not needing mommy anymore.
Being a mommy has been more challenging, more frustrating, more of a struggle and more exhausting than I could ever have imagined. Back when I was struggling to conceive a child and wanted the title of mommy more than anything in the world, I would never have believed the day would come when I would just want to not hear the word mommy for a little while. I could not have guessed how downright draining it would be.
I also could not have guessed that I would be sitting on the tub, feeling a strange awe that this little person I made, gave birth to, and went through so much with has actually been here for three whole years. And in that time, has morphed into a little boy with thoughts, opinions and the ability to express them. A little boy who gets up repeatedly and rather annoyingly to pretend to go potty after he is supposed to be sleeping, and thinks it's quite funny.
Time flies. Babies grow. People change.
My son is three tomorrow. Three. Behind him, Aaron is sneaking up on two. I won't have any more babies. This is it. Babies are behind me. How can something I dreamed of and fought for so long and hard be in my past now? And when I think of what is in my future, I feel overwhelmed by the knowledge that I have only a few short years to turn boys into men.
And only a few short years to be mommy before I am mom.
I sat on the edge of that tub, and then I tucked him back into his bed. And I gave him every extra hug and kiss, every "one more song" and sat with him for a while longer than usual before I left his room. I closed the door with the odd feeling that I would re-open it in the morning to find a big kid on the other side, and no longer my sweet little Nolan. I am just not ready for that.
Happy Birthday to my Nolan, my first baby, and the first to grow up before my eyes. You drive me nuts. You completely exhaust me. You make me wonder if I am cut out for this mommy gig. And I am so grateful for all of it.
I love you little boy.