I took M outside three times today. The weather was warm and sunny. Not a cloud in the sky. So we took our walk in the morning. We went to the park after his nap, came home and talked to two grandmas, then went back over to the park before dinner.
After the first park visit, I had to bring home a fairly grumpy boy. He was mad because I wouldn’t let him jump in the muddy wood-chip puddle in the corner of the play area (like I let him do yesterday). So, already annoyed at me for that, he became increasingly resistant to going inside as I tried to hold his hand on the sidewalk. When this happens, he has learned that if he makes his legs limp, he can worm his way out of my grasp. Until this afternoon, however, his pants have protected his knees during this maneuver. Today, he scraped one, which, of course, made him that much more irate.
Later, as he was sitting on the toilet after dinner, I sat in my spot on the floor and noticed the scrape on his knee. Nearby, there’s a small bruise. On his other shin, another one, oblong, and a little larger. He didn’t seem to notice these markings, nor care. But they got me to thinking.
I love the smooth, clean skin of my baby. His warm little hands often caress my arms or chest, especially as I rock with him at bedtime. His legs and feet are so flawless, so soft and pure. His skin is luminous, and I love to bury my nose and my mouth in his belly and neck. I can’t help it. But he’s growing, and even though he’s still a baby in some ways, he’s changing right before my eyes into a boy.
The scrape from today was nothing. His little bruises will fade in no time. But there will be more scrapes and cuts, so many injuries inside and out that I won’t be able to protect him from. And on one level, this makes me profoundly sad, to watch my baby, whom I diligently kept safe those first helpless months and then some, disappear. But on another level, I am thrilled that I am lucky enough to watch as life sculpts him into the shape that he is meant to be. And the distribution of feelings is about equal on both sides. That as much as I will miss the baby tummy, the soft hands, the plump cheeks, I know he’s got to grow and change in so many ways in order to become someone even more amazing.
We all have our scars. Our experiences that mark us. I look at my boy, and I don’t miss my own infancy, childhood, adolescence and the rest that brought me to this point. I look at him, and I revel in his loving smiles, his sloppy kisses, his squealing laughter as I burrow and blow on that round baby belly. We have a lot of time, still. Though I do often wonder where so much of it has already gone.