Before the foyer was a mess of cleats and library books,
Before Axe deodorant established residence in the bathroom,
Before I began tilting my chin up instead of down to look him in the eye,
Before the kitchen counter became a catchall for birthday invitations and permission slips,
Before entire sofas were buried under clean laundry needing folding,
Before he cared what brand of sneakers he wore,
Before cool was on his radar,
Before play-dates became hangouts,
Before he asked me to stop singing his lullaby,
Before every inch of the house became littered with Legos,
Before I realized he didn’t inherit my straight teeth,
Before the invention of Minecraft–which, for the record, I still don’t understand,
Before running out to Target for poster board the night before a project is due,
Before I swore no child of mine would ever be medicated,
Before Little League games that went into extra innings but only on school nights,
Before piano lessons and all the complaining that accompanied his practicing,
Before he grew too big to carry,
Before I became selective about sharing the babysitter’s name for fear someone else might snatch her away,
Before the first visit from the tooth fairy,
Before the months of fretting over which school was right,
Before the wall needed repainting because those were permanent markers,
Before the first little lies he told, which were eventually followed by bigger ones,
Before time-outs on the step,
Before story time at the library,
Before swim lessons,
Before the panic of having lost him for two very long minutes in Kohl’s,
Before the discovery that Baby Einstein offered thirteen consecutive minutes of peace during which I could inhale dinner,
Before I could make everything better by pulling him onto my lap for a hug,
Before the torture that is sleep deprivation,
Before the exceedingly slow drive home from the hospital because we had a “Baby on board”,
Before I knew to trust my instincts because they’re actually pretty good,
Before I understood that this is harder than anything,
Before. Before. Before.
I held a baby.
Moments after he drew his first breath.
I had dreamed of him for as long as I could remember.
The love was there…fierce and primal and expected.
Even bigger than the love was the hope. So enormous and undeniably present that I could just about reach out and touch it. No dream was too big for this perfect little bundle who had his entire life before him.
Who will he be?
He’ll be as tall as his father. He’ll need braces. He’ll be exceedingly guarded, but never after 10PM. He’ll have a quiet confidence. He’ll have a good voice, but he won’t like to sing. He’ll be outstanding with numbers, but struggle with words. He’ll hate mornings. He’ll love hijinx. He’ll be resistant to change. He’ll be a brother again, and again, and again.
He’ll have someone whose love remains fierce and primal. And whose hope for him will always be big enough to reach out and touch.
He’ll call her Mom.
To all who stumble through this journey the way I do..
Vessels of hope…
Believers in dreams…
Folders of laundry…
Happy Mother’s Day.