In the evening, I lay beside you in your twin bed and we talk about our favorite parts of the day. These days feel long. Full of epic battles, heroic maneuvers, bloody victories.
Often, when I think back, the first moments to resurface amid the flotsam and debris in my mind, are the hardest ones.
Darting down the hall with your baby brother half-latched to my boob, half-crying, so I could hit the faucet before the sink overflowed (again), was not my favorite thing.
Retrieving the shoe you threw out the car window while everyone in the parking lot stared at me, was not my favorite thing.
Tripping over your tantruming body and dropping our groceries on the pavement was not my favorite thing.
Changing my spit-up soaked shirt four times and admitting that the baby cannot tolerate my ice cream habit was not my favorite thing.
Sometimes my favorite moments make me feel guilty and inadequate. When you looked out the window for three minutes while the baby was nursing and I got to write an email. When you played at the park and I talked to another adult and felt like a human again. When your dad came home and I went into the bathroom and locked the door.
But, my happiest memories of the day are often things I don’t share with you.
Finding glitter in your baby brother’s hair because your artistic ambition is explosive.
Watching you jump from a too-high place at the playground, fear and admiration and pride overwhelming me.
Hearing you strain to reach the cookies on the counter and disappointedly proclaim, “I can’t reach them, my toes are not big enough!”
The new way you launched yourself off the couch this afternoon, by pulling your pants half-way down and yelling, “booty-jump!”
Those moments are sweet and funny and a punctuation to the sometimes chaotic melody of our home. But they’re not really my favorite either.
This is my favorite.
Laying beside you as your strong, quick body finally slows. Your ribcage expanding against mine. Your eyes moving in big, long blinks. This is my favorite moment.
Not because a long day of ranting, and whining and wondering if I’m doing it all wrong is over. But, because listening to you recount the day, I’m so quickly reassured that I’m not.
There is no pause while you search for silver linings. It’s like you didn’t even see the other stuff. The times I lost my patience. The times I was disappointed, grumpy, and short-tempered. Instead, the good parts pour out of you.
“My favorite things were swimming and riding bikes with you, and having a treat after dinner.”
I lay a hand on your chest as you drift slowly away, cocooned in blankets, only to emerge a new boy in the morning. Bigger, stronger, brighter. And I marvel at your beauty and at my good fortune, the blessing of being your mother.
I slide away from your sleeping little body. The day is done. A chance to get some rest, to shower, to recharge.
Standing in your doorway, I am overcome with gratitude for our time together. For another day with you. Another day of struggles, and learning and growing together. Another day of favorite things.