When you're a parent (heck, even before you actually become a parent), you live in a constant state of wonder:
I wonder how the hell I'm going to get this baby out of me.
I wonder when he will sleep for longer than an hour.
I wonder when he'll stop being so fussy.
I wonder if my mother will always criticize my parenting.
(The joys of parenting!)
Most of the time, you wonder about the firsts: first tooth, first step, first solid food. They're exciting, yes, but there are a whole slew of firsts that never make the baby book.
For me, I couldn't help but marvel at this bodily first with Junior. Also, the first time I had food poisoning and had to tend to two children. And the first time my kid said a bad word, even though it wasn't intentional. So many exciting firsts.
Just last night, when I was home alone with the three boys and Chuck was still at work, this first happened:
We were all upstairs when we heard a strange noise from the kitchen. Junior—who always has been my code-red child, the one who screams "RUN" and then totally books off, the one who shouts "Call 9-1-1!" even though it's not really a crisis—turned to me calmly and said, "Stay here, Mom." As he went downstairs, he put his arms into his karate stance. He came back a few seconds later and said, "All clear. It was the cat."
It all happened so fast, and yet so slowly. I stood there for a moment and stared at him. At nine, he's a solid guy. I can wear his shoes. I mistake his shirts for Chuck's in the laundry. He's as tall as my shoulders and yet, he's been my Junior, my first, for so many years I didn't recognize the "stay here, Mom" voice or the calm young man who confidently stepped down the stairs.
He saw me watching him and asked what was up. I didn't tell him what I was thinking. I ruffled his hair and told him to brush his teeth. That's the thing about children: They're so much more than that first tooth. They keep changing and surprising you and some days, you find yourself wondering who the heck this new little person is.
See? I told you it was all about the wondering.
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