You’re two months old as of this past Sunday (my first Mother’s Day!) and the first thing that comes to mind when I think of what to write to you is this. You can smile! The first time came in the early morning. You’d just woken up at about 6 AM as is your developing routine. We changed your diaper, had a good feeding and a serious burp. Then I cuddled you in my arms and gazed into your eyes while smiling at you. And you gave me an honest to God smile back. I’m not going to lie, I totally started crying. Your smile was the most beautiful thing this sleep-deprived, emotionally-compromised, terrified and determined new mother had ever seen. I think you were one day past six weeks old.
For a couple of weeks you’d been doing this open mouth thing at us when we’d smile at you. It was like a proto-smile. We knew you were trying to smile, but it didn’t cover all of your face. Just your mouth. So we didn’t count it as a smile. And then BAM- full force smile that is just as beautiful and unique as you. No one will ever smile the way you do. The way it lights up your eyes blows me away every time.
What also knocks me off my emotional feet is how you can go from smiling and cooing with little leg kicks to full-blown crying jags and tantrums. Because shortly after you perfected your gorgeous smile, you also mastered the frown. Oh, my poor heart can’t take it! One moment we’re having this lovely bonding time and the next you are drooling and inconsolable with perfect, story book style teardrops running down your cheeks. All I want is to take us back to the second before when you were happy. All I ever want is to make whatever the problem is right.
But I’m finding more and more that you are a passionate, sensitive little guy. None of this laid back stuff for us. You feel things intensely. Whether it’s a wet diaper or constipation or possible teething, you throw your whole self into that feeling and let us know what your thoughts are on it. Which, in a way, makes the moments you smile and coo at us even more valuable because I know you’re really feeling calm and content. You’re not just throwing us a bone, you genuinely feel the good and convey it just as intensely as the bad.
Even though you’ve only been with us outside the womb for two months, you are growing SO FAST! You have more hair. You’re gaining weight like a champ. And you seem to get longer and longer everyday. I think you’re almost as long as my entire torso when you’re stretched out. I finally understand why parents say, “They grow so fast.” It’s because you do. You were my squalling, vaguely purplish treasure troll just a minute ago. Now you’re a little man with a personality, fantastic hair and a smile that knocks me off my feet. You have more and more control over your neck every day. Pretty soon I’m sure you’ll be telling me what to lay out for you to wear everyday. In some ways, I wish I could freeze you in time just as you are right now and stop you from growing anymore. You’re so perfect now, I don’t want to see you change. And yet, that’s exactly what I brought you to this Earth for. To grow and change.
You met your biological, maternal grandfather, Rick, when you were seven weeks old. And he assures me that you will continue to grow despite all my efforts to slow you down. He cites my six-foot-tall self as evidence that he’s right. Oh he loves you. I think he might be even more enamored than I am. And that would be saying something. He fully enjoyed his grandfather role during his four-day stay even though we don’t know what title you’ll give him when you speak. Will he be grandpa? Pappy? Papaw? Personally, I suggested Gpop as a friend of mine goes by. Your grandfather is under the delusion that even though his oldest daughter is 32 years old, somehow he is not old enough to be a grandfather. I think you’ll bring him around, and he’ll embrace his new role with title and all very soon.
We decided to do a little photo shoot while he was here. I think we got some adorable shots! But, oh, you were in such a mood that day! Thankfully our photographer was very capable of posing reluctant babies. She also caught your spit-up in her hand which even I haven’t managed to anticipate and do yet. She was a real pro. You refused to smile at all until the very end of our hour sitting. That smirk at the top of this post- that is the closest thing you gave us to a smile the entire time. But I’ll take it. Maybe when we do this again, you’ll be a little happier.
My father brought me some of my mother’s things including a lot of pictures. Your father and I looked them over the night before Mother’s Day. I can’t believe how much you look like me! I thought you just had my nose, but actually in a lot of the comparisons you look like a blonde version of me as a baby. There’s no denying you’re my son. Not that I ever would.
You made me a mother and that’s how I was able to celebrate my first ever Mother’s Day as an honoree. For my special day, you presented me with a beautiful, antique necklace. Your father insists you chose it, though you and I are together 24/7 somehow you managed to slip away with him. I think it’s beautiful! Just like you and your father. You also made sure that The Man brought me breakfast in bed AND let me take a nap. It was glorious!
You are healthy and happy and growing, Gibson Fox. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to take this time off of work to really bond with you and learn what makes you tick. In a couple more weeks, I’ll return to work full-time. I don’t even know how I’ll manage being away from you for eight hours a day. More than that really with commuting. Somehow we’ll make it work. Because you are strong enough to handle any little mistakes along the way. And really, we’ve been luckier than most in that I got to stay with you over two months when many mothers have to go back to work at only six weeks. I don’t know how my mother did it. I don’t know how any mother does it. But so many of us do. So it’s got to be possible.
I love you more and more everyday. And everyday when I realize I love you more, I also realize that you have expanded my capacity to love. Like forcing the Grinch’s heart to grow three sizes, you stretch and nudge that space in me to be larger every day with every smile, every frown, every tear and ever coo. Now that I can see your smile, I’m inclined to believe that you are growing emotionally capable of love. If nothing else you seem to prefer to have me around, and you cry for me when I’m not in the room. You may not grasp the concept of love yet, but I know it’s there.
I love you,