I would read you a bedtime story, turn off the light and then hold you as tightly and closely to me as possible. We would rock back and forth and back and forth while I softly sang, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.” With your left cheek pressed firmly against my chest, I would feel your body succumb to sleep as my singing slowly gave way to your gentle snores. I vividly remember in those moments telling myself to never forget how it felt to hold you like that because the following morning you’d be bigger than the day before.
One day without warning, you no longer needed to be rocked to sleep. You could climb into the bed on your own. “You Are My Sunshine” is now a duet we sing together before we turn off the light and say our prayers. And while a part of me misses the old routine, another part is soaking up this new found independence. They say your purpose in life determines your priorities and you, my son, are number one on my list. Nothing reminds me more of the why quite like laying next to you in the pitch dark before we both drift to sleep. With my back toward you, a tiny hand presses on my shoulder and then the most tender kiss is planted on my forehead. And I tell myself to never forget how it feels to have you kiss me goodnight because the following morning you’ll be bigger than the day before.
I am guilty. You are my forgiveness.
I am anxious. You are my calm.
I am a bleeding heart. You are my band aid.
I am empty. You are all consuming.
I am still. You move me.
I am a cold night. You are my fire.
I am a raging river. You are my raft.
I am in the war of my life. You are the peace.
I am hopeless. You keep me trusting.
I am nothing alone. You are my everything.
I am unexplainable. You define me.
On this Valentine’s day, I’ll soak in how you call milk “nuk” and how you hold out your little hand and say, “Come on, Mama.” I’ll memorize the way your face lights up when you ask me to tickle you with the itsy bitsy spider and I’ll laugh at how you’ll take at least three baths a day with your animals. I’ll watch Brain Candy with you on repeat and sing the ABCs at the top of my lungs while riding to get “Mommy’s coffee.” And even though they rip open my heart, I’ll appreciate the tears you still shed when you leave me because the following morning you’ll be bigger than the day before.