In the still darkness of the evening, when the baby is asleep and the big kids are busy with their nightly doings, I sit beside his bed. In just a few days he'll turn two years old, and he seems so big.
We waited so long for him, prayed for him. Years of waiting and wondering if we'd ever get to hold another baby in our arms and then there he was, growing in my belly and then snuggling in my arms.
Now he seems so big. This little boy with the blonde hair and the blue eyes and the silly little grin. The one with bruised shins and dirty feet from running outside all day long day after day. The one who loves to read about The Very Hungry Caterpillar and asks me to sing I Don't Want to Live on the Moon when I'm putting him to bed for the night.
He loves milk and peanut butter and cheese and any time music comes on, he starts dancing. He climbs up, on, and even under everything he can, and when he's not quite awake in those few quiet moments of the morning before everyone else gets up he climbs into my lap and lays his little head against my chest and I breathe in the vanilla oatmeal smell of his shampoo.
Airplanes excite him and he knows all his colors except that he tends to mix up red and purple. Ovals are his favorite shape at the moment and every time he sees the letter "A" he says, "For Andrew!" He loves to read books, by himself in his room or on my lap with me. He's learning slowly to share and take turns and he loves to drive his toy train through the tunnel and sometimes when he plays by himself I just sit and watch him and marvel at how amazing he is.
This sweet little guy, 29 pounds of noise and dirt and laughter and funny noises and warm sweetness. He sticks his little toes up and says, "Kiss a foot!" and giggles when I do. Sleepiness overtakes him and he turns over in his bed. "Cover up," he says. I cover him up, tuck the quilt I made for him in around him to keep him warm. "Rub a back," he says, so I rub his back as I sing to him. His eyes grow sleepy and his breaths long and even.
In the darkness I sit beside him as he sleeps. The noises of the house go on in the rooms around us. His big brother and sisters laugh and talk and I remember that time so long ago and yet no so long ago when they were little just like this. I look at him, the rise and fall of his back as he sleeps so peacefully. So quickly the time passes. "The days are long but the years are short," they say. But sometimes even the days seem short now. So I'll sit here beside him a little longer, rubbing his back for my benefit more than his, and I'll think how precious he is, this little ball of energy and chaos and sweetness. My littlest boy, already not as little as he was yesterday. I'll sit a little longer, love on him a little longer, breathe him in a little longer.
Time flies so quickly. Life is too short to rush through it. So for now....for now, in this moment, I'll slow down and sit with him, this little boy who turns two in just a few days.