This winter morning

When you are expecting for the second time, everyone tells you how crazy busy you will become, and how you will redefine the word ‘tired’. No one, not even one person gave me a clue of the biggest adjustment and emotional impact I would feel – how much I’d miss my first child!

This morning, Blake, my 5 year old had a dental appointment. I took him to the appointment and my husband took our toddler, Scarlett to daycare. I had that rare one-on-one time with my son again, although surrounded by chirpy dental professionals ready to compliment him on what a great job he has done by staying still.

Blake has matured; his progress more obvious in a social setting outside home. He checked out the surroundings and settled on a book he liked. He chose not to spend this time to converse with me. I felt a slight nudge inside of me: Blake has always been that kid who just won’t stop talking and here he is, growing out of it before that reputation has a chance to stick…

You see, when you have a second baby, usually the moms take the responsibilities of taking care of the younger one and the dads assume the roles to occupy the older kid. All that infant business takes so much time and before I knew it, I had missed a lot of Blake’s life in the past year. It sometimes pains me to realize that our mother-son relationship has evolved permanently as a result of it, that he is aware he isn’t the ‘needy baby’ and perhaps, daddy should be the default helper.

The dental appointment went well and we took the subway to his school. As we approached his school building, he sped up and ran towards his classroom. The school ground was covered in white snow, and by contrast, his colourful fire truck backpack gleamed in the winter sun, looking way too big on his little body. Underneath his furry hat with ear flaps, his cherub cheeks were turning red – I always marveled at how cute kids looked in these hats. He waited for me to catch up: “Mom, this is my class!” his smile revealed two missing bottom teeth.

All of sudden, I felt this lump in my throat – Blake is still little but not for long. How I wished this winter freeze could make this moment last forever! As I watched him disappear into the crowd of kids inside, I couldn’t help thinking about the beautiful words from C.Day Lewis’s Walking Away:

That hesitant figure, eddying away

Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,

Has something I never quite grasp to convey

About the nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching

Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute day.

I have had worse partings, but none that so

Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly

Saying what God alone could perfectly show –

How selfhood begins with a walking away,

And love is proved in the letting go.

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