The period of 16 to 18 months of age is a bit of a honeymoon. Both Mommy and Son are sleeping through the night. Bottles are miraculously held by tiny hands. No longer does Mommy have to lug to day-care with masterful skill sheets, blankets, lunches, diapers, wipes, and a 28 lb toddler positioned on her hip just so. This little dude can walk now. He teeters alongside his sister, fingers blanketed by Mommy’s hand.
He’s able to communicate his needs and wants. Ba-ba! He screams with authority. All-done! He cries in protest of diaper changes. Hungry for a snack, he points to the bag of cheerios; smiling broadly and nodding when asked if he wants some more. He sings, dances, revels in the joys of his world. Personality shining through, he displays sarcasm while prodding his agitated older sister in the back with toys during their bath. Smack out of a Simpson’s episode, she exclaims, “Ow, quit it!”, and looks to Mommy for justice. He laughs and takes revenge for her many transgressions (a.k.a. toy stealing) by poking her again. All about Karma, Mommy lets it slide.
It’s an amazing time for Mommy and her little man. Every day he learns something new; a new word, a new hand gesture, new sights and sounds to behold. Mommy watches as he takes it all in, pointing in wonder at the birds that have traveled home for spring; calling out to the trucks zipping by on the road; concentration evident in his eyes as he ponders the feeling of grass on his palms.
Watching all these things come to pass pulls at Mommy’s heart strings. She wants to scoop him up, hold him in this stage forever, his tiny arms wrapped around her, his face nuzzled in the crook of her neck. She feels his weight in her arms, and recalls when she first brought him home. How tiny he was in comparison to the sturdy toddler he is now.
This snuggle is too brief. The boy is changing so fast. There is a whole world out there to explore and it cannot be accomplished from Mommy’s grasp. She manages a quick smooch on those irresistibly soft and chubby cheeks as he reaches for the ground. All done! She sets him back down, and off he runs, faster, more assured, steady on his feet. Not too far, just enough for Mommy to grieve his inevitable distance.
During all the trying times of infancy, there was always the desire push through it…to get past it. Yet even when it was most difficult, there was enormous joy, pride, appreciation for the enrichment of life, acceptance of the rite of passage. What a crashing flow of emotions…hope and desire to watch him grow, ache and desperation to keep him close.