To My Little Guy,
Almost two years ago, your father and I bid you farewell as we left you alone with your grandparents. Even though I would see you again in a few days, I cried as I kissed you and walked out the door. I understood the significance of that moment. Your world was about to change.
Three days later, we returned home with a tiny interloper. Suddenly, you weren’t the sole focus of our universe. You had to share your place in the sun with someone else. Your baby sister.
It has been a rough journey for you, my fierce firstborn child. You don’t get all of my attention anymore. Sometimes, you have to wait. And sometimes, when I’m taking care of your sister, you feel as if I don’t notice you. But I want you to know something.
I see you. As you stand beside your little sister. She’s not yet two years old. At nearly five years old, you tower over her. But your head still tilts up when you talk to me. I know that one day, our gazes will be level and eventually, you’ll tilt your head down to speak with me. I’m not ready for that day.
I hear you. As you watch your favorite shows. Your childish lisp makes me smile when you belt out the “Hot Dog” song from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Your sweet voice embodies childhood innocence when you sing the theme song from Winnie the Pooh. I know that one day, your voice will be deeper than mine is, and you will enjoy mind-numbing, eardrum-shattering music that I don’t understand. I’m not ready for that day.
I smell you. Your boyish scent lingers in the car as we drive to school. No matter how often your face is washed, you always smell like the strawberries and cinnamon bread you love to eat for breakfast each morning. I know that someday, I will walk into your bedroom, and wonder if something died. I’m not ready for that day.
I taste you. Your salty tears wet my face as you wrap your small arms around my neck and sob out your Pre-K woes on my shoulder. Right now, my embrace is enough to solve your problems. I know that someday, the world will break your heart again. And my hugs and kisses won’t be enough to soothe your pain. I’m not ready for that day.
I feel you. When we cuddle before I kiss you good night. The warmth of your body and the rapid beating of your heart before bedtime elicit my primal maternal vow to protect you with my life. I know that someday, you will push me away when I try to hug you. You won’t want my cuddles, or my kisses. I’m not ready for that day.
I love you. I love hearing you laugh and seeing you run outside on the playground with your friends. I love the way your dimples pop out when you see me outside the window of your classroom at the end of the school day. I love how your face lights up when your father walks into the house at the end of his work day. I love how gentle you are after you grudgingly accept your little sister’s hand in yours and walk with her through the mall.
And so, my dear little son, I know that life is hectic. I know that your sister gets half of my attention now. It seems as if I don’t notice you, but I do. There are so many wonderful moments with you that are permanently etched in my heart. Nothing and no one can take them away. Because you will always be my one and only firstborn son. And no one can ever take your place in my heart.