I’m sorry I missed it. The moments you grew. The changes that have occurred now that you’re a little boy and not my first baby. When did I stop paying attention? How old were you when the changes stopped coming so rapidly I didn’t look for them every day?
When you were born, each day was a new discovery. A tiny hand wrapping around my finger. The first curl of a smile. I held you and waited, making faces and silly sounds until the first peals of your laughter filled the room and my heart.
You grabbed, you rolled, you crawled, you stood, you walked, and we cheered for every moment.
We took hundreds of pictures of every tiny development and every new achievement. We loaded our Facebook feeds with announcements of your newest accomplishments.
As a toddler, you added your voice to the constant hum of the house. Your first mama was more treasured than any gift I’d ever received. Every day it seemed you acquired new words and used them in hilarious new ways. We made recordings of you singing and performing for us, knowing these were the moments we would want to make sure we never forgot.
I marveled as your face moved from baby to toddler. I could see glimpses of the little boy you would become. I watched as your body grew long and lean. Your hands lost their dimples and your knees became knobby. Your smile shifted from gummy to gleefully enthusiastic to the awkward smile of a boy who knows people are watching.
Then you were just this wonderful little boy. You had become you.
Your smile, your personality, your charming sense of humor had become a constant. A delightful fixture in my life I could rely on. And I stopped looking for the changes. I began to accept that this is who you are. We’d done it! We’d raised this sweet little person who was strong and independent and kind. And then we started to take all of those developments for granted.
One day I looked up from my work and across the table, and there you were. You were older. You had made yourself breakfast, had gotten your sisters settled with a show to watch. You smiled that half-smile of a boy much older than your six years. It took my breath away as I realized your birthday is around the corner. Ten will be here before I know it. Then time just keeps flying. Middle school, high school, leaving for college.
I felt like I could hardly breathe. I missed it. Whenever this happened.
I want to stop time. I want to freeze this moment to memorize who you are today. And I want to take the time to recognize the changes that will be there tomorrow. The new words you can read. The new tricks you’re trying on your bike. Every LEGO creation that comes out of your brain.
I never again want to take for granted all the amazing changes you make. I want to celebrate every new discovery you make now as much as I did those first steps toward me. The ones that ended with you falling into my arms.
Because no matter what changes you make next, my arms will always be here, waiting to catch you again.