Thirteen years ago today, I became a mother.
There’s no turning back from that moment. Everything about your life is different, forever. And your formerly self-turned focus changes, abruptly, to this little helpless sweet creature in your arms.
Today, my first-born turns 13. A teenager. A young man. About to become a bar mitzvah. An incredible person who I am so lucky to claim connection to.
I remember those first mottled weeks of motherhood, when my little guy would cry for no reason each evening, and we’d be beside ourselves with wonder about how to make him happy. That subsided as he grew and he became the inquisitive, curious, wonder-seeking child who threw his arms around trees and stopped to smell flowers. Literally.
In the early quiet mornings, I’d strap him into the stroller and we’d walk up and down the streets of our neighborhood, me talking to him about all the things that we were seeing, him sitting upright, alert, eyes wide, staring at the birds and the trees and the houses and the cars zipping by.
Even later, when he went to school and made friends, his tender heart always full of love and compassion for others. He is that same person today, although more articulate, taller, even deeper-thinking.
I love this person more than I ever knew I could love. It’s amazing, isn’t it, the throes of motherhood. One day, you anticipate, you imagine, you eagerly await, and then boom!, the next day everything has changed and you are rendered silent by the magnitude of it all.
This little mewling creature comes into the world, and your perspective shifts. It’s no longer just you; you make decisions based on what’s best for someone else.
This journey of motherhood is truly amazing. We’re at the stage where sometimes frustration sets in, and argument ensues, and you battle wills and realize that before long, he will leave, forever.
While he will reside in my heart always, and the phone will ring daily with tales of his adventures in his own life, one day he will be grown enough to live on his own and to want to live on his own, and I will still be here, with all the tender pictures in dusty long-held frames, remembering the moments of awakening, of exploration, of yearning, of snuggling at night, not wanting to leave my embrace for his own bed.
Today, this 13th birthday of my eldest son, is the turning point. We sit on the cusp, between childhood behind us and independence ahead of us.
I have sweet, fleeting moments left to hold him in my grasp and cherish this tender connection. And while I may remain the voice in his head as he grows up and moves on into his own-ness, he will remain the voice in my heart, reminding me of the best things I have ever done, the greatest gifts I have ever received.
Him, and his siblings. These souls that rock my world and make me whole. The people who show me how deeply I can love, how rich the world is, how special this thing called life.