Just Like This

Just Like This

My alarm goes off.  I don’t have extra time to hit snooze.  I put an abrupt end to the melody sweetly trying without success to wake me gently.

I hate getting up in the morning.

I swing my feet over the side of the bed mentally checking if I set my clothes out the night before as my feet hit the hard wood.  That is one less decision I have to make in this groggy state.

I stumble into the bathroom, vision still blurry from half opened eyes and pupils naked without contact lenses.  I turn on the shower and wait for the water to warm.

I love hot showers.

I am already feeling it…the pressure of the day…of the to do list that I know won’t get marked off entirely.

I’ve learned to do without closure…begrudgingly.

If I always needed the day tied up nicely with a bow at the end of the night I would never get anything done because I would never start things that could not be finished quickly.  There aren’t many of those kinds of things outside cleaning a toilet bowl.

I feel the weight of clients I care about that I am about to see that day, the students who have personal issues keeping them from completing assignments, papers that need to be written, meetings that need to be scheduled, prep work that still needs to be done for various functions, bills that need to be paid…I take deep breaths, calming myself down, praying, knowing everything will work out. The pressure is still there.

I step out of the shower, get dressed, lean down to get the hair dryer…when I hear the footsteps.

Boom, boom, boom.

A door opens.

Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

Another door…our bedroom door…opens.

In walks a bleary-eyed little boy with mismatched pjs and bed-tousled hair carrying a stuffed animal…a dog.

You pass your daddy with an affectionate grunt in his direction.  You have only one destination.


You don’t even have to watch where you are going.  It is like you have a GPS set on “mommy” and it sends you directly to my legs.  You wrap your arms around my knees and then bury your head in my waist.

Everything else stops.  Everything else disappears.  I have no idea what I was concerned about before that moment.  I scoop you up and we fall into the bed giggling.  You put your soft cheek on mine and then give me a head to head rub.  You smile big now, awake.

“Good morning, sweet boy.” I say.

There is no touch sweeter than the soft skin of a little boy’s hug when he first wakes up.  Nothing.

I feel nothing but joy as I walk with you, soft hand in my hand, to the kitchen where Daddy makes lunches for the day and I start getting breakfast ready.  Blueberries, apples, and chocolate milk is your request.  For the next fifteen minutes I am the short order cook and I don’t mind.

We go to the girls’ room on a joint mission to wake up your sisters where one, as usual, sits straight up and the other, as usual, moans her protests.  I smile, amused and content in the routine.

As I make breakfast, you love to be sent on trips to your sisters’ room to deliver messages.  “Tell your sisters that breakfast is on the table.”  You pad away with rapid steps only to return moments later: “Yil-yi-yan, says she doesn’t want to get out of bed.”  “Ok, bud.  Thanks for letting me know.”

I know she’ll come out soon.  Slower than I would like…but, she will.

You sit and smile the whole way through breakfast, making faces, and telling silly stories about your imaginary friend, Sam.

These moments are my favorite of the entire day.

Everyone is at the table…and even if they wish they were still in bed they still manage to let out a giggle.

It is going to be a good day.

I am ready to face anything.

I sometimes look at this scene and the irony is that while I am getting you all ready for the day, I wonder what I will do when these precious faces are no longer here to get ME ready…ready to face anything.

I shrug that thought off and give each one a hug, a kiss, an “I love you soooo much”…and then we are all off.

Life is good.

The night before I put you to bed.  A book, the closet light on, and “Mommy, I want you to sleep with me…for FIVE minutes”.  So, I lay down for FIVE minutes  Do you want me to sing you a song?  Yes, the Emmett Stone song!

Emmett Stone, Emmett Stone…I love you, Emmett Stone.

Handsome and strong, sweet and so kind, I love you Emmett Stone.

You giggle at my tummy: “Hillary is getting so big!”

I pray for you.

You stick your feet in my face.  “Stinky feet!”  I tell you to stop or I will leave.  You stop.

You put your stuffed animals up to me and make them say: “I’m hungry!”  I pull out pretend food from a pretend pocket and feed each one.

It’s time for me to leave, Emmett.  I love you.  I will see you in the morning.

“Poopy!”  I smile and close the door.

In the afternoon, I pick you up at 2 PM and sometimes you will say: “Daddy drops me off…mommy picks me up” rehearsing the pattern you have grown to expect.  I felt so bad for your babysitter one time when we had her pick you up and had forgotten to tell you about the plans.  She told me later that your face completely fell when you saw her.  “ I want mommy to pick me up.”  You LOVE her…but, you know what is SUPPOSED to happen.

Daddy drops me off.  Mommy picks me up.

We go home.  Knowing we only have about an hour before we need to go pick up your sisters, I sometimes ask if you want to go get a treat or play at a park to pass the time.  I may or may be craving a treat of my own.

“NO!  I want to go home!”

So, for the hour we sit on the floor in your room and play.  “You can get a pillow, mama.”  You know that I don’t like to sit on the hard floor…especially at 7 months pregnant.  When you step over me you say: “I am stepping over, Hillary, mama.”  I don’t do much playing.  I talk for the toys and you do most of the action.  If I accidently talk like myself you sternly correct me: “Talk with it, mama!” motioning towards the toy in my hand.

My days are punctuated with your hugs, kisses, and silly faces.

Sometime we will sit on the couch and watch Backyardigans or a super hero show like we did today.

You slip your little arm through the crook by my elbow and lay your head on my shoulder.  I sit there and look over your little body.  I look at your little legs, your little arms, your little toes.

I pick up one of your little feet.  It lays limp in my hand as you stare attentively at the TV.  Little boy feet.  Soft, warm, sturdy.

I wonder how long you will get up in the morning and seek me out.  I wonder how long these pads on your heels will have the “mommy” GPS.

I study the smallness of you, knowing that in two months overnight you will become a big boy to me.  There is nothing I can do about this.  I learned this lesson the day I brought home Lillian and realized that Eloise was not my baby anymore.  The comparison of a newborn to a two or three year old is startling.  Something changes that can never be reversed.  I remember rocking Lillian to sleep just weeks before you were born…anticipating the coming change.

And, now, here we are.

I wonder if…with you…being my only boy…it will be different.

I wonder if you will keep being small to me….sweet, warm…the sweetest touch.

Soon you won’t technically be my baby anymore, but I promise you this.

You will always be my little boy.

I will always see you…

just like this.

Emmett Stone, Emmett Stone…I love you, Emmett Stone.

Handsome and strong, sweet and so kind, I love you Emmett Stone.