In our frenzied rush to get to church on time this morning, I accidentally slammed three of Gabriel’s fingers in the car door. He shrieked in pain and seeing that he was simply hurt not injured I gathered him in my arms and told Erik, “Just go. We’ll sit in the parking lot and cry while you get us a seat.” (I realize this seems harsh, but do you know how hard it is to find a bench at church that seats eight people? It gives me a panic attack every week.)
Once we’d both wiped our tears I carried him into church and, despite the stifling heat, held him on my lap for the duration of the meeting. Later, at home, I cut up his waffles and fed him because “my hand hurts.”
The big boys called him out as a faker(as he clearly was) and voiced their repeated complaint, “Stop babying him, mom. You’re turning him into a wimp!”
“Back off boys.” I replied. “Anytime I slam my baby’s hand in the door I get to coddle him as much as I want.”
I do baby my Gabriel. But it’s simply because I know my time is almost up with him. In the fall he will be in school all day and will surely learn that it’s not cool to sit on your mom’s lap in church or to feed your teddy bear with a baby bottle. He’ll master tying his shoes and riding a bike. He’ll learn words and ideas I wish I could protect him from.
Before long he’ll be making his own lunches and washing his own clothes. He’ll program my ipod and inform me where he is going rather than asking my permission. And sadly, one of these days he’ll stop hugging and kissing me a hundred times a day and telling me, “You’re my bestest mommy in the whole world.”
Not all of Gabriel’s life is better than yours, my big boys. If you had slammed your finger as a six-year-old I would have run back into the house for a bag of ice and possibly just kept you home(It was much easier to find a bench in church with a smaller family.). You had many more trips to the park and the zoo, to movies and to restaurants(remember when we went to lunch at The Broiler and they gave us free meals and desserts after Stefan’s glass spontaneously shattered? We ate ourselves silly.).
I expected too much of you as six-year-olds; and I’m so sorry for that. Too often, you were pushed off my lap by a toddler or a nursing baby.
I wish I could have held you more.
I wish I’d collected as many kisses from you then as I do now from Gabriel.
This is why I make brownies whenever you ask or hand you the gas card when we both know you haven’t done quite enough weeding this week. You’re still my babies.
And because of my love for you and your gone-too-soon-little-boyhood, I’m going to hold Gabriel as long as I can.