You’ve been out of the womb fewer months than you were inside it, but lately I’ve noticed that you’re somehow already becoming more of my boy and less of my baby. It’s not just the physical things, like your size 12 month pajamas or the fourth tooth that’s cruelly trying to force its way into your smile. It’s the thoughtful WILL that governs your days, and often, mine. You want to MOVE, to twist, to lunge, to pounce. Every ounce of you (and there are many at this point) partakes in some kind of pure, honest pursuit at every moment. You are a marvel to watch… which is good, because I can’t look away for even a second these days: you’ll roll off or over or under, grab this, that, or the other. Left awake in your crib, you stand and clumsily stalk its perimeter like a little guard fighting off slumber, and even when put down asleep, you pull yourself up to a wobbly sitting position with eyes closed. On the changing table, you squirm around so much that I fear one day you might escape my grasp and tumble to the ground. When I get dressed, I must consider the earrings I wear each day, or else I may lose an earlobe.
But despite the fact that you do grab, pinch, and even bite (your poor gums!), you are such a sweet, loving boy. You give kisses now, although they are open-mouthed and very wet, a far cry from textbook. During those times that you nap on my shoulder in the afternoons, you often wake and lift your face up in front of mine only an inch away, widen your round, light eyes with a question, and then smile the answer so sleepily.
Those other smiles are loving, too — the big, toothy ones, or the scrunchy-nosed, noisy ones — but they are in no way tentative or questioning. They are intense celebrations of all of the little things that bring you instant, slamming joy: the toss in the air, the “baby” in the mirror, the wag of a dog’s tail, the bounce of a mattress, the clang of a wind chime, the clap of a hand.
Your simple bliss gives me such simple bliss. As I watch you laugh and bounce and (yes, any minute now) crawl further (away) through the expanding world around you, let me remember how close and part of me you are. The words of an ee cummings poem my sister presented to me on Mother’s Day convey my feelings perfectly (thank you, Aunt Sunshine. How absolutely perfect these lines are…):
i carry your heart with me — by ee cummings:
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)