Saturday marked a milestone, of sorts. On that day, five years ago, one of my greatest lifelong dreams came true. I gave birth to a baby boy and things were never the same again.
When he was five days old, he did the Newborn Noodle Neck Flop in the car. I was sure his neck was going to break and I drove white-knuckled the rest of the way home. When I finally got home, Manoj was there and I broke out in tears, sobbing uncontrollably on his shoulder.
In a heart wrenching flash, I had realized how intertwined this little boy's well-being was with my own.
This is a boy who loves the Pink Panther, Woody Woodpecker, the Natural History Museum at KU, Super Mario Brothers, apples, Spiderman, candy corn, Curious George, the Overland Park Botanical Gardnes, raw broccoli, sushi, The Ernie Miller Nature Center, dinosaurs, lizards, the Kansas City Zoo, crocodiles, snakes, bats and just about anything else that can scamper or skitter. Yes, above all things that require a power source, he loves anything and everything related to animals and nature. Nature reigns supreme here and he is constantly digging in our yard. When we are out and about, he is always on the hunt for things to add to his collection of bugs, leaves, acorns, rocks and berries. I keep empty plastic containers in a certain spot in our cupboards for him. Often, I will hear him run inside, scramble for a container, then dash back outside. Later, I am not surprised when I find a dead bumblebee or a spider lurking in one of those containers.
God, I love having a 5 year old in the house. Seriously, I love Five.
Arun is still not a happy guy when he wakes up in the morning. Downright GRUMPY is a better adjective, actually. When he was a baby, it was so frustrating to deal with this crabby little guy who slept like a rock at night, but resisted his much-needed naps. Good grief, so many days I begged him to just wake up and be happy. Now, I know better. This boy needs some time to wake up and face the day. These days, I ask him if he wants me to hold him and invariably, he blearily nods his head. I sit in my chair and he climbs into my lap. He can curl his legs under and still fit perfectly in my lap. I relish these moments now because I have that knowledge that comes with time passing so quickly. That clarity which mothers are not often granted in the early years. I pat his head, hold him close and ignore his bony, skinny butt poking me. I sneak in deep whiffs of his hair. And kisses. The boy who loves hugs does NOT like kisses.
And I remember that soft, pudgy baby with dimples in his wrists who only wanted to be held.