Our former nanny called him Little Man. The nickname slipped through my lips a time or two as well. I tend to collect words and phrases. But it never sat quite right with me. The nanny didn’t either. We eventually parted ways and I abandoned Little Man. He became Buddy to me. Sometimes I call him Bud Bud. He is my Baby Boy.
There is nothing really wrong with Little Man. He is, after all. He is little and, one day, he will be a man. In fact, thinking of him as a Little Man will do far more good than harm. To think that today he is just a very small version of a fully grown man will help me nurture his natural sweetness and slowly smooth out the rough edges. Now is the time to look ahead to the man I want him to be so that I can lay the path for him to get there.
But I don’t want to.
Today he is two. As in today, this very day as I sit here and write, he turned two. Today, he looks up at me with the biggest brown eyes from behind the longest lashes and it doesn’t matter how loud or long he had been screaming prior to that moment. I melt every time. Nobody looks at me like he does. The purest, simplest, most precious love comes out of those baby browns. It’s the love of a very little boy for his mama. He wants to wrap his arms around me, all the way around, but he knows that they won’t completely encircle my shoulders so he goes for the closest thing he can loop around. A leg. My neck. There is something so specifically wonderful about a toddler’s arms hooked around your neck. The most beautiful love and needing and pure and simple wanting is all there, in that squeeze. He wants to be there, wrapped around me, and he is thinking of absolutely nothing else.
He is my baby. Today, he is mine. All mine.
When he is a man, I’ll have to share him. With other people and things and worlds. He’ll have friends. Girlfriends, maybe. Hobbies and interests. I can already predict that, someday, this budding love he feels for trains and trucks and planes will overtake what he feels for me. Someday, he’ll realize that kicking a ball is not just something he does in the backyard and his love of soccer might be all consuming.
Of course, I know all of this is coming and that it is good and right. And I won’t hold him back. A mama’s job is to raise her children to fly. Push them up and let them go. They are not here just to love me. They are here to share their beauty with the world. And I’ll raise him to know that beauty. I’ll raise him to be a good man.
This moment, when he is small and sweet and loves his mama more than anyone else, is but a flash. It’s the sweetness that makes this salty toddler season bearable. Liveable. Loveable. I’ll raise him to be a good man, world. I promise you, I will. I’ll start treating him like a Little Man. But for now, for just a little while longer, he will be my Baby Boy.