When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a Mommy. I would wrap my dolls up in blankets and sling them on my hip while I cooked dinner in my Little Tykes Kitchen. My babies had a pretend Daddy that I would talk to on the phone-I'd tell him to bring home more milk and chocolate chip cookies. I fed my babies bottle after bottle and perfected the art of singing a lullaby while rocking them to sleep.
When I was a little girl, my babies were always babies. They never got older. I never played Mommy to a two year old boy who was awesome at puzzles. I never read a precocious three year old boy bed time stories. I never watched a determined four year old boy play hockey.
What a shame.
Today, as of 6:02 PM, I am the Mommy to a talented, sensitive, kind, ridiculously smart and hilarious 5 year old boy--you! And, while feeding you a bottle in my arms so many years ago was pretty awesome, so, is feeding you macaroni and cheese while discussing Gopher football and the newest Jake and the Neverland Pirate episode.
I'm kicking myself for not knowing then what I know now. Little girl me would have loved being the Mommy to 5 year old you-its pretty awesome.
As your Momma, I get to know true unconditional love. I hear, "I love you, Momma" through bleary eyes at 5 AM-it's the first thing out of your mouth most days. And I hear it from around the corner at 1:20 PM as I'm struggling to quiet your crabby sister. And always, always it's the last thing you whisper to me each night before bed. "You look beautiful today" and "Your the best Mommy ever" also escape our mouth often and usually when I need to hear it the most. You offer endless hugs, still want to give me a kiss before I leave, and give the best butterfly kisses around.
And I get to have SO MUCH FUN as your Mommy. I get to build forts and roads and cities. Because of you, I am well versed in Superheroes and was even protected by Batman himself this Halloween. I get to play UNO and Yahtzee and Monopoly with Disney characters on the game pieces. I get to color and play with Legos and find the best hiding spaces for hide and go seek. I get to watch you "crush" Daddy in backyard football and race you to bed each night.
There's also an element of adventure in being your Mommy. My heart never pounded when I swaddled you as a newborn but it sure does when I see you twenty feet in the air at Spiderman park. Or climbing the jungle gym with a broken (and casted) arm. Or reaching out to touch a shark on the beach in Florida. Or attempting to ride your bike without training wheels for the first time. You sure like to keep me on my toes!
I also feel overwhelming pride. My heart swells just watching you walk into preschool each morning. Last week you told your teacher that your favorite toys were "all the learning ones" and I had to wipe away the tears. I also cried at preschool graduation last year, your 5 year well check yesterday and from the sidelines at hockey last summer as I watched you finally get the hang of pushing off with both feet. I cry-a lot, but it's a good cry, baby. I also smile- when you share happily with your sister, when a stranger compliments your behavior, when you use your manners, when I look at your sweet face.
If I had even an inkling of just how awesome it was to be a 5 year old's Momma, I'm certain my pretend babies would have grown up. I would still call Daddy to bring home more cookies, but I'd also ask him to pick up some Gatorade and meet us at your next hockey game. And, instead of rocking you to sleep, I'd tuck you in to bed and steal one more butterfly kiss and wait patiently for that last, "I love you Momma."
I love you, buddy.
Happy Birthday to the smartest, funniest, and most determined 5 year old I know.
I am lucky to be your Mommy.