Late summer 1996.
We were a couple of kids playing house in a little apartment.
I was a 19 year old mommy-to-be and he was my adorable, doesn't-look-old-enough-to-drive hubby.
Sporting a giant belly with the rest of my body following that leader.
Stifling summer heat, a pitiful apartment maintenance man constantly on call to fix the A/C that could NOT get cold enough.
Typical first-baby style: several false alarms, tears and "I'm going to be pregnant FOREVER!!", and sweet family lovingly reminding me "no one was ever pregnant forever".
August 19th, 8lbs, 2oz of cute chubby baby goodness was born.
A little girl becomes somebody's Mommy.
A big strong tough guy becomes a Daddy.
We become a family and were forever changed.
Colic and diapers and spit-up and wardrobe changes.
Couch naps with him on my chest, feeling him hiccup - but, on the outside this time.
Vacuuming while bouncing with him in the snuggli attached to my chest - every.single.night. starting at 9pm. Because otherwise he would just cry and scream.
First-time mommies learn a lot by trial and error.
First-time mommies learn about boy stuff like peeing across the kitchen while uncovered during a bath.
Little baby boys get bigger. They grow and they grow and they learn to walk. They grow some more and learn to run and jump over big things and climb trees and make their mommy nervous. Very nervous.
The first time he got hurt and bled... I cried too.
The first day of Kindergarten...I cried too.
I was the first mommy waiting outside that day... because I just couldn't stand the thought of him walking out of the school on his first day and not seeing me standing there.
Now, that sweet baby boy is sixteen.
He has turned the corner into becoming a big tough guy, too.
I struggle with this change.
I still look at him and see that scar from the first big ouchie - with rushing to the doctor and getting super glued back together.
I still look at him and hear him singing "Tinkle, tinkle, widdle staww!"
And yet, he's pulling farther away.
He hardly even needs me anymore, you know.
I've taught him all about being independent... washing his laundry, letting him burn stuff in the name of learning to cook, ironing his own stuff. And now, he is mostly independent.
And I'm looking back on these 16 years and screaming at the hourglass to
JUST STOP FOR A FEW MINUTES!! REALLY! ENOUGH!!
He's such a great kiddo...
I mean, young man.
We hear all the time how wonderful he is.
He's funny and kind and well-liked...
and he's polite to the neighbors and adults in our lives.
He loves the little kids in the house like they've been here forever
and that's just not such a common thing for a teenager who went from being oldest of 4 to oldest of 12 in a matter of 20 months.
He's wonderfully uncommon.
And I suppose it's nearing the time when I'll have to share him with the world.
The day will come when he will pull out of the driveway with a bunch of stuff and go start his life away from the shelter of our home.
And I'll still picture him with a head full of golden brown curls, snuggling up in his Daddy's lap eating cookie dough and watching VeggieTales.
Because, now that I've got 16 years of experience at this, I know...
that's what Mommies do.
I love you, kiddo.
(P.S. You'll ALWAYS be my baby boy.)