One thing nobody told me about motherhood was how it feels to be the best—and basically only—thing in someone’s life.
When I walk into the room my son’s face lights up. When he wakes up and I peek over the edge of his crib to say good morning, his somber expression melts into the sweetest smile on Earth. It’s like before, he’s just thinking about the blank wall, or Sophie the Giraffe, or his wet diaper, but as soon as he sees my face he thinks, “There’s that lady who sings to me and reads to me and gives me warm baths and keeps my belly full! I like that face!”
I don’t even have to smile at him before he’s grinning his gummy grin.
And when I lay down next to him, as I sometimes do when I feel I deserve an extra special treat, he turns his fuzzy smell-good head back and forth like a dog trying to find just the right spot to get comfortable, which spot is inevitably the one where he’s turned toward my face, nose pressed up against mine, breathing the same air as me. And we look into each others’ eyes and it’s like there was never a time before we were that way.
I realize it sounds like I’m writing a love letter to my boy, and that this could be kind of creepy in some sort of reverse-oedipal way, but I can’t deny that I have a little bit of a crush on him.
It’s impossible not to, with the way he carries on as if I’m literally the best thing that ever happened to him.
Before I got pregnant I worried about motherhood—about the sacrifices I would have to make to take 100% care of a tiny helpless dependent creature whose life rested almost solely in my hands. I worried about the strain that new level of responsibility would place on me.
But in these last four months I have learned that, while my worries were certainly valid, in the end they were all for naught. Sometimes I feel like caring for Hutch is difficult, I won’t say I don’t. But now that I’m in it, I don’t find the weight of that responsibility crushing like I thought I would (and indeed like I did at first).
I know that I won’t always be the main thing in my boy’s life. And I understand that—it wouldn’t be healthy if I was. He will grow up, sooner than I can even imagine, and before long he will care about so many things: school, sports, music, girls (hopefully not for a long long time), books, bugs, snow angels, block towers, giant cheese pizzas. I know in time I will be only one of many things that he loves. And even though I know that’s the way it has to be, it also makes me a little sad.
So for now I embrace it. I soak it in. I let the floors go unswept, the laundry go unfolded, the pins go unpinned.
Not a day goes by that I don’t look at his sweet face and see how much he loves me. I am the main person in his life, and for now the main person that he loves.
And I love him for it. Forever.