I remember the days when it was just you like they were only yesterday. But now you start your own adventures, just you, without me.
Do you remember when it was just you, my son?
Do you remember how I gave you all of my hugs? How my eyes watched you always? How I loved only you, my child?
You are my first. You will always be my first. And while you are no longer my only, you are the one who made me a mother. You are the one who changed me forever.
You were my first pregnancy test. You were my first oh-my-goodness-what-the-oh-my-am-I-ready-for-this-holy-cow-I-hope-I-am-because-this-is-so-freaking-amazing-but-oh-shit-what-the-oh-my-okay-this-is-happening-for-real moment. You are the first.
You were the one to give me my first worry as a mother. You were the first to tear my heart open in a way I never knew was possible. I thought I lost you. As quickly as I discovered that I had been gifted a new purpose, I thought that purpose had been cruelly stripped away. I thought I was losing you. I thought you were gone. The doctor on the phone thought so too. So your daddy and I made a late night visit to the emergency room. I was broken. And within a few hours, I saw your tiny heart beat on the screen, and I could breathe again. You were there. You were so tiny, your heart was beating fast, and you were there.
You were the first of my children to hold. I loved you before you were born, but when I held you for the first time, well, that moment was the first. That moment was the first time I discovered how intoxicating the scent of a newborn can be. That moment was the first time I understood how intense motherhood would be and how I would never be the same. That moment, my son, you gave that to me.
Do you remember when it was just you?
Do you remember how I smiled when you said your first word? Do you remember how I clapped when you took your first step? Do you remember how I cried when you got your first big owie?
You are my first. Together we’ve seen so many firsts. And now you are the first to begin your own firsts in the big world outside of our little home.
I will smile, I will clap, and yes, I will cry too when I watch you enter those school doors on Tuesday for the very first time as a kindergartener. We’ve had so many firsts together, but this is the first time when I will not be there to see many of your firsts. This is the first time since leaving my full-time job to be an at-home mother when I will not have one of my children with me during the day. These past two years all of my days have been spent with you and your sister, and for the next few weeks until the baby arrives, it will only be me and your sister at home –without you. It will be a lot quieter; perhaps too quiet. It will be less tiring for me; perhaps not tiring enough. Your sister and I will still have many adventures, but our adventures won’t be the same without you. You were the first to make me want to soak up as many adventures as I could while you were young, while you were only mine, while we had these days before kindergarten and scouts and soccer practice and Sunday school.
Oh, my son. I will smile, I will clap, and yes, I will cry too for so many reasons when you enter those school doors on Tuesday. I will smile because it makes me happy and proud to see you so excited to start school. I will clap when you share your accomplishments with me. And I will cry, maybe not in front of you, when you share how your heart hurts. You are my first, and this is a new first for us. You will experience new firsts on your own, and I will be here for you when you need me. We can smile and clap and cry together, but my son, it’s just you again. You get to do this on your own. You get to do this without me.
I will smile to encourage you that you are ready for this. I will clap to remind you that I am so unbelievably proud and excited for you. And I will cry when you walk toward your teacher and classmates because I will miss you. I will miss sharing so much of each day with you. These past two years as a stay-at-home mom have been a gift. It’s been fulfilling and trying and exhausting and inspiring and full of adventures, and it’s been amazing because you’ve been a part of it all from the very beginning. This journey started with you, and now it’s time to let you start your own journey.
Remember when it was just you and me that moment when you were first placed on my chest? I do like it was just yesterday.
I love you, I’m proud of you, go get ‘em my little Jedi. When you get home I’ll be here to smile with you, clap with you, and cry with you if you need me to. And when I tuck you in at night, please don’t mind if I hold you a little longer and tighter against my chest.