My sweet little boy, I can hardly believe you will be four soon. You are my firstborn, the reason why my second name is Mommy. You’re no longer the squishy baby who loved to snuggle up with me all night long, but a big preschooler who turns my snuggling attempts into wrestling matches. You’ve traded in your baby coos for dinosaur roars and your tiny frog legs for strong ones that are always jumping, climbing, and running. Sometimes I marvel to think you were small enough to come out of my body, though I remember thinking you looked so big for a newborn.
In these past four years, you have grown and learned so much. I remember being worried about you being a late walker; now you whip through our house like a tornado. You’ve learned how to be a big brother, get dressed on your own, and how to make friends at preschool. You’ve impressed me with your ability to befriend strangers and your confidence, like when you bravely walked back with the dentist by yourself, leaving me in the lobby. While you have learned a lot, you still have a whole life ahead of you and so many more things to learn.
There may be 23 years between us, but I’m growing up right alongside you.
Like you, I have also changed and learned a lot in the past four years. I was young and not exactly sure what motherhood would be like. I just knew I was ready to find out. I loved you from the moment you entered my life on that lovely summer morning, but I knew absolutely nothing about the journey that was unfolding before us. I remember feeling in awe that the hospital just let us leave with you as though we actually knew what we were doing.
You and I spent many of those early days in the living room of our tiny apartment as we struggled to figure out breastfeeding and kept each other company while Dad was gone. Those days were hard, but sometimes I wish we could relive them. I love who you are becoming, but I also miss how you used to sleep on my chest and your fresh newborn scent.
I feel the same way about myself—I love who I am right now and the life I’m living, but sometimes I miss who I used to be. I was always wanting to do something fun. Now, I’m always tired. It’s a good kind of tired, but it’s still hard to forget who I used to be.
You were always patient with me, even in the beginning. In those first few months, you used to scowl at me as though determining my worthiness. I must have passed because it didn’t take long to replace that old-man scowl with your contagious laugh and smile.
You watched me make mistakes over and over again but made up your little mind that I was still worth waiting on.
I wonder how many times I googled random symptoms or whether or not I needed to call poison control when you ate something you shouldn’t have. I memorized nursery rhymes and lullabies. I learned your ever-changing rhythm. I hope I’ll continue to prove to you how much I try to be the best mother to you and your sister.
Since then, I’ve tried and learned new things. We added your little sister to the mix and learned how to adjust to having a newborn and a toddler in the middle of a global pandemic. Those days were even harder, but you were still patient with me and we made it to brighter days. I’ve been in the toddler stage for a couple of years now, and I think I already know what to do better with your sister as she approaches two. I have already evolved so much in my short time as a mother but, like you, I still have so much to learn.
There are still so many phases of motherhood I’ve yet to discover.
There’s uncharted territory beyond these early years full of so many things that are both exciting and terrifying. We’ll discover it together, and I hope you’ll still be just as patient with me. I’ll still make plenty of mistakes like I already have, but I’ll never stop trying my best. I’m excited to see who we will become. Thanks for letting me grow up with you and for always being patient with me as I pick myself up each time I fall down.