My son Benjamin will be three this Friday.
While I’ve never been one to bemoan my children growing and achieving milestones, for some reason, Benjamin turning three has tossed me for a loop.
If you’re not familiar with parental-speak, “turning three” is another way of saying “no longer a baby”. And while Benjamin will always be the baby of the family, his time as an actual baby is over in just four short days.
Which means that a major phase of my life that began on December 18, 2004 is drawing to a close. Much like turning thirteen, twenty, thirty, and graduating from high school, my youngest child turning three and leaving babyhood is a bittersweet experience.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Benny’s snagged a briefcase and a spiffy suit and is taking off in the world. He’s still all about cuddling up on Mommy as often as he can. Hell, my oldest daughter is all about cuddling up on Mommy when she gets the chance. Nothing will change really, except for the fact he’s no longer a baby.
And I’m not even upset about there being no possibility for any more babies. For one thing, I no longer have the proper equipment to become pregnant. For another, I don’t have the energy, either physically or emotionally to go through another newborn period spiked with post-partum depression. Time’s just shot by way too fast.
And I watched, carefully. When 2 a.m. would find me rocking one of my kids to sleep, I’d remind myself that it was just a short blip on the radar of my life, and they’d no longer be able to fit comfortably against my chest in the circle of my arms. I’d remind myself that for only this short time, they’re mine, that the world would be pressing in on us sooner rather than later, and they’d have school, friends they’d make, boyfriends and girlfriends, colleges to go to, life partners they’ll pair with.
And I’m not making the mistake I made with Amethyst, which was the laughable experience of thinking that once she turned three, things would ease up in regards to tantrums. It’s like some sick joke, the idea of the terrible twos, when the reality is the twos are just the warm up party for the full throttle tantruming that’s on its way in year three.
But oh! The last three years just shot by. I blinked and Benjamin went from this pink cheeked newborn who wanted to be held all the time to a toddler who loves doing drive by kissings and hugs around your knees. Where once was a bottle of breast milk is now Benjamin sneak attacking your lunch when you step out into the garage to get a bottle of water.
So, this part of my life is coming to a close. And I’m on to bigger and better things. But oh my lord, these past three years? Graced with a gift I was afraid to even ask for? My heart skips a beat and my stomach clenches when I remember how not three months before I found out I was carrying Benny within my body, I asked my doctor to perform a partial hysterectomy. The idea of a life without Benny in it, if my doctor had gone ahead with the surgery? It’s a thought that causes tears to well up. Because a life without my son? There’s no way of imagining it. I often wonder how in the world I got through my life before he was born. He’s too necessary to my sanity and my joy for me to imagine any other type of life.
So a very happy birthday to my youngest, my son, my miracle, the greatest surprise I’ve ever been given. I hope you know just how much joy you bring to my life, just for the simple reason you were born.