The other night, after I got Emery to sleep (finally), Jonah quietly called from the room, "Come sweep wif me, mom!" It's very rare that Jonah and I get time alone, which makes me sad, but it is what it is these days. I didn't really want to, because of my list of a hundred things I needed to do before bedtime, but I'm doing this new thing where I just say "yes" when Jonah wants me to do something with him. So, I put down my work and crawled next to his mattress on the floor of our bedroom where the four of us sleep.
He was half asleep, and he always gets really sweet and mushy and it would probably be nauseating to anyone listening in, but I love it. We were laying there, talking about life, elephants, giraffes, llamas, what they eat, where they play, who their best friends might be and then I sang him "the song of the bed" as he used to call it. I've been singing "You Are My Sunshine" to him at night since the day he was born and this is the first time in several months that he's let me sing it to him. He usually says, "No song, just tell me a story, Mom." So for some reason, him letting me sing the song just made me all kind of emotional and I got teary eyed. And if the song wasn't enough, when it was done he put his arms around my neck, kissed my cheek and said, "I just wuv you so MUCH, mom." AH! Tears! I hugged him back and said, "Please just don't grow up."
And then that started a whole new conversation that broke my heart and made me proud at the same time.
"Why do you want me to not grow up?"
"Because I like you little."
"But I want to be BIG!"
"I know, but you have the rest of your life to be big. Can't you just stay little for awhile?"
"No. I just can't stay little. I have to be big."
"Cause you're big and Daddy's big and everybody is big. I want to be big too."
"Sigh....I know. It just makes me sad."
"Why's it make you sad for me to be big?"
"Because when you're big, you won't be little anymore."
"But mom, it's goodto be big!"
And of course, that wise little man is right. It's good to be big, but it's good to be little too. I always tell people it's a cruel, cruel trick that we get these amazing little people in our lives and then they don't stay little and they just get bigger and bigger. The other day when Jonah was outside playing superheroes with just his cape on and no shirt I just wanted to swoop him up in my arms and press some imaginary pause button that would let me keep him this size for a little while longer.
The days are impossibly long, but each year that passes gets shorter and shorter. This time last year, Jonah was in diapers, barely stringing a sentence together, and now he's this big kid that can do so many things. But he's still little. And he's still my baby and I don't think I'll ever be able to see him as anything other than this little boy with a superhero cape that lets me into his imaginary world and shares the magic and wonder with me.
And now I'm crying. Because soon he'll be teenager. Soon he'll have crushes on girls and will think I'm totally lame. He'll lock his bedroom door and tell his friends his thoughts and secrets instead of me. He'll grow up and fall in love and leave me and I know that I only have today. I only have this short amount of time for him to be a little boy that on any given day is a cowboy, a space ranger, a superhero or a pirate.
I know that I will learn to love every stage of motherhood, because every stage is unique and beautiful. I know that he will inevitably grow up and it will be a whole different stage of amazing things. I know I will still love him desperately and be so proud of the incredible man he is destined to be. Because it IS good to be big.
But it's good to be little too. And I just wish they would stay this way.