Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Last Birthday Sleepover

For each of my sons, starting on their third birthdays, one of the "gifts" I give them is a sleepover in their bed.  Sleepovers in my bed don't happen all that often, but me sleeping in their bed is a true treat.  And as much as I complain the next day (about being kicked in the stomach, sleeping on a six inch stretch of bed, and being awoken at 5:30am), I really love it too.  When I awake during the night, during one of the many nudges and jabs, I take the time to stare at their sleeping faces and just admire it - remembering the baby that it once was, and the little boy that it has become.

Braden turned 8 last week.  Sleepovers are still something he desires, but this year he opted to sleep in our bed, with both my husband and I.  I have to admit I was a bit slighted at first, and reluctant to share him, but happy to be in a king sized bed.  That night, before I fell asleep, I went through the ritual of staring at his face, and for the first year it was nearly impossible to recognize the baby in him.  That infant face of my firstborn, the way he cried and pursed his lips and fell asleep on my chest. The notion was almost impossible to reconcile - who was that and who is this and how can it possibly be the same person?

Braden is no longer an infant, a toddler, or even a little boy.  He's a kid with long lanky legs that hang to my shins if I ever happen to pick him up (which is getting nearly impossible these days).  He is complicated and philosophical and creative and stubborn and completely his own person.  I've learned in my 8 years of motherhood that I can't take credit for who he is - his intricacies and achievements and failures are solely his own.  He is at times a reflection of myself, with his deep thoughts and anxieties, and at other times a stranger to me, who I get to rediscover each day as he evolves into the person that he is meant to be.

I still lay with Braden each night before bed and we talk about his day, and he professes his love for me.  He always has been one with words.

Gradually these words have taken on a more mature form.   They are no longer gibberish (Me love mommy); instead they are thought out and eloquent.  I am so lucky to have you as a mommy.  I never want to leave you.  I love you more than anything in the world.   He writes these words too, but his handwriting isn't so wobbly anymore when he writes me love notes or makes me cards at school.  And now, with his 8th birthday, his words have taken electronic form - it took him about 2 hours to get accustomed to his new iPod Touch that he got for his birthday, and his first text message to me read: "Can you take me to school today because I love you so much so so much mom."

(His words of aggression can be just as poignant, but I'll save those for another post.)

That boy is the love of my life (along with his two brothers), but I am fully cognizant of the fact that I won't always be his.  Someday the whispers of sweet nothings will stop, as will the love notes, and the love texts, and the birthday sleepovers.

This year I had to share him, and one year, maybe next, he'll decide he doesn't want to sleep next to his mother anymore at all.

I'll understand his decision, but oh how I'll miss it.

Happy 8th birthday to my baby boy, Braden.  What a beautiful ride it's been so far.

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  1. You sure know how to make a momma cry. Great post.

  2. I love the birthday sleepover idea. Going to try it with my sons.


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