My heart breaks as you drag your protesting eyelids open just enough for a peep. You frown at the effort it takes, then blink slow; let out the softest yawp of protest at one of life’s many discomforts. As you tire, you fold your adventuring hands slowly inward and tuck them comfortingly under your chin to rest awhile in the shadow of your pursed lips.
You are bittersweet, baby. I breathe the mist from your brand new head. It calls me to you; to your sisters to your father and to myself; an essence barely visible of who I am/once was/could be. You calm me; make me soft and malleable; doughy and drunk with love.
Perhaps you are the last. It’s all so hard with a just-turned three year old ready to embrace the world and an eleven year old coming into her own beautiful self before my eyes. Both asking so much of me. I know I’m giving you the profound gift of each other, but with each of you, there is less of me. Just please love each other the way that I love you. Please cling to one another. Be kind.
And oh, how I hope you’re not the last. Will there ever be a time I don’t think that? Or am I destined, like my mother, to live the everyday tragedy of one last baby never born? Surely that question, at least, can wait.
What I really want to tell you, sweetest of little boys, is that I love you for your gentle ways; your slow blinks; questing hands and soft yawps. I love you for your quiet contemplations and your meditations on the mundane sublime objects of your world.
But more important still, oh sweetest of little boys, I vow that I will love you in equal measure when your eyes open wide enough to take in the whole damn world at a single glance; when your yawp rings out barbarically and startles me more than I care to admit; when you forget that you are gentle and sweet and embrace the wildness within.