A few days ago, Munchkin and I cuddled on the couch as I tried to settle him down for a nap. Last week was a three-day fight against a fever and required an extended recuperation. He loves to cuddle, but it is rare that I can enjoy these moments uninterrupted by my youngest or a pressing chore that truly cannot wait. “Georgia On My Mind” played softly while I pulled a blanket over us. His fingers curled around mine. When did they turn into little boy hands?
Georgia, Georgia… the whole day through…
Five years ago, I spent my due date frantically finishing up the last of the “couldn’t be left” items at my job. It was a stressful last trimester; the nonprofit I worked at and my boss had parted ways abruptly. As the only other employee, I pulled long twelve-hour days finishing tasks that just couldn’t be left. At 6 p.m. I sent my last email out and closed up the documents I’d been working on. I was done. The rest could be left for those who were filling in for me.
I think Munchkin was just biding his time, waiting for me to relax enough for my body to work without conflicting thoughts or guilt. I woke up at 7 a.m. the next morning in active labor. Early that afternoon, I met the boy who made me a mother.
I said Georgia, oh Georgia…
A song of you comes as sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines…
He grew five inches last year, skipping merrily through two clothing sizes and he sounds, at times, oddly mature as he asks about things like plate tectonics and why ice crystals form and yesterday… oh god… he asked how babies come out of their mommies. I am not ready for this conversation.
Lately comments like “Oh, in another ten years he’ll be driving!” slip out of my husband’s and my mouth without conscious thought. It’s ten years away… TEN… and yet my husband and I have been together for a little over a decade already. It’s not so long, really.
This fall he’ll be in Kindergarten. Just thinking about it makes my heart contract painfully. He grows… up and out and away…
Other arms reach out for me, Other eyes smile tenderly, Still… in peaceful dreams I see… the road leads back to you….
That afternoon, he tried to make himself small, head tucked under my chin. But lanky boy limbs pressed up against me – the belly that nurtured him and the breasts that nourished him in those early days. He’s a nervous cuddler – fiddling relentlessly with my fingers and ears as he waits for sleep to come.
I stroked his hair and forehead, projected calm, knowing I wouldn’t know exactly when it was coming… but whether it’s sleep I’m now waiting for or that moment that he springs from my arms never to return… I’m not sure.
Sleep, when it does come, is sudden. His hands fall still. His breathing deepens. His lashes make dark half-moons on his cheeks and as I’m rising I cannot help but kiss him over and over, risking disturbing those dreams that took so long to settle in.
How did five years go so fast?
Just an old sweet song keeps… Georgia on my mind.