I remember clearly those first weeks after you were born. As a new mother I'd often start crying whenever I'd look at you, shaken by how much love I felt. I heard such emotions were typical, but I also knew it was more than that -- it was you. Over the past four and a half years, I have had these feelings wash over me time and again. When you are sleeping I'll sometimes sit beside you for a bit, kissing you softly on your forehead and repeatedly thanking God for such a loving little boy.
"Cash, I wish you could stay four forever," I once said to you, "I wish you would always want to cuddle and hold hands like this...You'll grow into a teenager and then a young man who will have his own family...but I'll always remember you as my sweet little boy." To which you replied, "It's okay Mom, that's a long way from now. And I promise I'll come back for Thanksgiving."
I guess you're what people call a Momma's Boy and that's cool. No, that's GREAT! 'Cause even though your "grown-up-ness" is a long way away like you said, these wonder years are still going to pass far too quickly. Starting with that first photo we had taken of us together (you were six months old) with your little balled up hand resting on my collarbone, to a recent one of us on vacation where you instantly placed your hand over my heart, your tenderness is without question. Then there's the moment you reach for my hand through the fence (one of my all time favorite photos!) just before going up to bat at one of your little league games and said, "Mommy, hold hands." That was when my heart exploded.
"There is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart."
~ Washington Irving
Your last day of preschool was a week ago. As I sat through the closing ceremony, what struck me most was how loving you also are toward others. After getting your diploma, you hugged each of your three teachers one by one. When your head teacher, Lisa, started crying while saying good-bye and thanking the parents, you walked over and gave her another embrace. "Don't worry Teacher Lisa, whenever you feel sad you can look at this picture and then you won't be sad anymore." What your teachers talked about most this year was your developing sensitivity toward your peers, how you learned to use words rather than behavior to communicate your emotions (not always easy for a 4 year-old!) and how loving you can be in your ways. Heck, sometimes you help me work through my feelings ("Just take a deep breath Mommy.... S-L-O-W-L-Y ... now breathe in and out"...) which never ceases to amaze me.
Cashew, it's been a real joy to watch you evolve past your challenging year three. The arrival of your baby brother rocked your idyllic "only child" universe and we had to chug through some pretty rough patches that year. "Mommy when I was three it was really hard for me, and I wasn't good a lot of the time. But now that I'm four, almost five, I'm being good....I'm not mean to my brother anymore. I just had to learn."
Oh baby, the way you process life is remarkable. I am awestruck. You are the apple of my eye, bring tears to my eyes and fill all of our hearts with love.
Always my sweet boy,
One of the flowers you picked for me during our recent vacation to the Dominican Republic. Each day when I came to get you from camp you'd come running. "Mommy, Look! This flower is so beautiful. I picked it for you. Put it behind your ear and you'll be so pretty." By the end of the week I had a glorious bouquet.