Last night I was lying in bed with my youngest reading him a bed time story and saying our prayers. My oldest used to come in the room and listen to the stories and say prayers with us but about two months ago he stopped. He now brushes his teeth, calls out good night, and goes in his room and shuts the door. I follow him in to grab a quick hug before he shuts off the light, but the hug is more for me than for him. He doesn’t need a hug and a kiss from his mommy anymore to go to sleep.
But Casey is still young and refuses to go to bed without his night time ritual followed to perfection, and I am happy for that. Last night after we were done he kneeled on his bed, gave me a bug hug and said, “I love you mommy. I’m giving you an extra hug because I know you like hugs.” My heart just melted. I do love hugs, and kisses, and cuddles, the feel of holding my little boy close, the unconditional love of a mother and child.
I stared at his little face, his blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and a thought hit me so strong. In two weeks my baby is turning six-years old. In a week he will start 1st grade. My baby hasn’t been a baby for a very long time, but he is still small, and sweet and cuddly, but time refuses to stand still. He is growing, and soon he will choose friends over me. Soon, kisses in public will be embarrassing. Soon he will tell me he doesn’t need to hold my hand in a store.
“Casey, promise me you will stop growing,” I asked. “I want you to stay this size forever.”
“Okay, mommy,” he replied sweetly. Then he thought for a moment about what I had asked him to do and he said, “But I don’t know how to stop growing.”
“I know. Mommy is just being silly. I am so glad you are my little boy.” I said.
“Me too,” he replied and gave me another kiss good night.
“Do you know how much I love you?” I asked.
“All the way to the moon and back,” he answered immediately, “and I love you all the way to Pluto.”
Then he rolled over, tucked his tiger under his chin, and grabbed a handful of his wobi before closing his eyes. I turned off the light and shut the door.
I can’t freeze time, but I can take a minute to write down these brief but wonderful moments before they slip through my fingers. Children will grow, become independent, and leave us one day, but the memories we make we will carry for a lifetime.