2015 has given me some of the best mommy moments. After what has felt like a never ending stage of feedings, diapering, awakenings throughout countless nights, and troublesome teething, my son is now a full-fledged toddler. Baby food is gone. Teeth are in. Sleep is all night long (in my Lionel Richie voice). When he turned two at the beginning of this year, I noticed the colossal weight of the infancy stage ease bit by bit. I found myself reluctantly admitting that other moms were right when they assured me early on in my motherhood that it gets easier. They were right. It does.
For almost a year now, my son has been in day care. No longer am I running all over the place at break-neck speeds with him in tow at all times. He can feed himself, partially clothe himself, and tell me what he wants. There is no more channeling Miss Cleo to figure out his needs. He now makes all of that very clear. And the best part has been getting to know the new and improved version of this little guy whose personality gets bigger by the day. He is smart, friendly, polite, uber kind, affectionate, loving, sometimes silly, not too much into sharing with others, and seemingly in no hurry to leave the pull-ups behind for the potty.
But over the course of this month, there were a couple of moments in which I was completely taken off guard by the overwhelm of emotion I felt while looking at the world through his eyes. The first was when his grandmother and I took him to the New York Botanical Garden’s annual train show. His normally big bright eyes grew even bigger and brighter at the sight of all of the steel trains zipping around their various tracks. My little one, who is obsessed with trains, pointed and squealed with excitement. His head twisted and turned in every direction as he took in all of the activity of the room. Once close enough to reach out and touch a quickly approaching train, that’s exactly what he tried to do. Before I knew it, I had a jumper on my hands. I grabbed him as he straddled the wooden barrier determined to have one of those miniature shiny trains for his own. But it was when he saw his hero, the most useful engine of them all, Thomas the Train, speeding around a track that all of his locomotive dreams had come true. He jumped up and down waving and screaming, “Hi Thomas! Hi Thomas!” My eyes filled with tears as I watched him. His excitement was bigger than the room. He was an ecstatic little boy surrounded by his favorite things in world–trains. And this is exactly what I wish for every day of his life. Sheer joy. I want life to present surprise after surprise leaving him smiling as brightly as I will forever remember.
As if that was not enough to fill my mommy-moment tank, a few days later was my first school open house. These days, it is never too early to prepare for where your child will go to school once the preschool years are over. While I toured the scenic campus led by my well-spoken sibling student guides, I envisioned my little scooter walking around the grounds in his khaki pants and Polo sweater. My excitement was almost uncontainable as I was told about the theme-based learning philosophy of the school, the non-existent Common Core curriculum, the nurturing small class sizes, the yearly trips out of the country (for the older students), and the impressive list of college acceptances. I imagined my son learning to play the Kalimba as demonstrated by the music teacher and cooking Cuban cuisine with his classmates in the culinary center. During high school, he would be introduced to the writings of Poe, Shakespeare, and Walker as mentioned by the ninth grade English teacher. He would have the opportunity to make recorded music in a studio, enjoy celebratory events at a yacht club, and so much more.
But what lit up my spirit was when I thought about the blank canvas that my son is and all of the wonderful opportunities that await him. He is completely unfettered by the burdens of self-doubt, societal limitations, competition, and the expectations of others. He is free to learn for the joy of learning. He has years to explore and allow his talent (whatever that proves to be) to find and guide him towards his life’s purpose.
And I will be his biggest cheerleader. I will always encourage him to follow his heart’s desire and be all of who he is destined to be. He will not have to doggedly chase success because it will naturally align with his God-given gifts. And he will know that. It will be an understanding rooted in his spirit early on that will only flourish over time.
The excitement that I have for his life, as I watch it unfold through his eyes, simply takes my breath away.
The world is yours baby boy. Shine, shine, shine.