Eight years already?

Dear Julian,

When you arrived eight years ago, at the end of a rainy October, days before a high-stakes Presidential election, we had no idea who you were. A healthy boy, eight pounds exactly, with a bit of dark hair. That was all the information we had.

Before you were born and afterward, I read tons of parenting magazines and articles online. The writers referred to milestones that seemed so far away, maybe on another planet: potty training, preschool, and play dates. A land where we would be living soon, me as your mom and you as my kid.

But I didn’t yet feel like a mom. I felt like a bloated version of myself; a person with a suddenly empty uterus, clutching a tiny infant whose needs were limited, yet still difficult to understand. If this is what boobs were invented for, why is it so hard to use them?

I knew there would be a phase of life when my job was really to parent you and not just keep you fed, warm, and dry. But I didn’t know when that would start.

I tried to imagine when you would crawl, call me by name, do homework at the dining room table. How would you turn from an infant into a kid? Would I notice the time passing?

Would I notice that you had turned into a boy?

Those long-awaited events have all happened, along with some that I hadn’t thought to imagine.

I didn’t know that by age eight, like me, you still wouldn’t have lost a tooth naturally. I didn’t know you’d be so nonchalant when the dentist pulled your first two.

I didn’t know you’d be able to play guitar, by ear, before you were six years old.

I didn’t know you would love me so much. That you would have a sister who you adore.

I didn’t know that you would be so special, but still say things that so many other boys before you have said.

“I’m going to play in the NFL.”

“Can I have a snack?”

“Can we turn our house into a haunted house?”

“I’m not tired.”

“Watch this cannonball!”

I won’t say that I can’t wait to see what the next eight years bring, because I realize I’m going to have a lot less time with you by the end of it.

You’re going to close the door to your room. You’ll start filtering what you say in front of me. You’ll go more and more places without me. I won’t know all your friends.

I know I’m going to miss you then.

This reflection on what I would like to tell Julian was sponsored by Hallmark, because they have a Facebook app dedicated to encouraging us to “tell them“! This series has been appearing monthly on Rookie Moms, and will continue through the end of the year.