I was watching you out of the living room window this morning. You were parked in the driveway, letting your car warm up in the bitter cold. The driveway you’d just plowed had another coating of snow and I could see a sliver of your face peeking out from your hat and coat collar.
I remember when it was just me and my firstborn.
For a moment, I was outside with you showing you the snow for the first time. You hated it and as soon as your tiny boot was covered, you started crying and wanted to go inside.
You had a navy blue coat with toggle buttons and a white knit hat. You hated the feeling of the hat on your head and you kept taking it off. I scooped you up in my arms and we went in and read instead. I made you macaroni and cheese for lunch and put you down for a nap.
Back then, life was just about us–you and me. I was able to be more present. Our days were wide open and I could put things down and tend to you knowing that I would have the time to get back to them.
You don’t remember that day. But you say you do remember (and miss) when it was just us and we could do whatever we wanted without one of your siblings tugging at me.
You didn’t know I was watching you the other morning. You don’t know how much I’ve been thinking about our alone time together. I won’t tell you either. I know I’d be met with rolling eyes and an “Oh Geez, Mom.”
Then our family grew and I gave my son the gift of siblings.
I know our family grew quickly. I also know that being the oldest is hard. You see your brother and sister do certain things I didn’t allow you to do at their age. I count on you to take charge sometimes like when I’m not home, or when your brother or sister need a ride that I can’t give them.
You never complain about it. I’m pretty sure you are over (and these days, you’re probably very thankful) that fact that you have to share your mother.
But the thing is, I’m not over it.
I know this isn’t something you’re supposed to say to your oldest when you have more than one child, but I’ll say it anyway: I miss us. I miss the days when you were the center of my world.
That’s not to say I would change a thing–I wouldn’t. I always wanted a lot of kids and I would even have loved to have one more–but those years that it was just us, I feel like I was a better mother.
I was more engaged, I wasn’t so damn tired all the time, and had only one place to focus my worry, you.
I was able to give you parts of me I wasn’t able to give your brother and sister. You got my best and you got my worst, but it was okay. It was you who taught me how to be a mom. You were patient and let me make mistakes and gave me room to correct them.
It was my love for you which prompted me to have more children.
It was our time together that made me think, Man, I can’t get enough of this and I want to prolong it as long as possible.
You who made me fall in love with life and want to give you everything.
When I was feeling guilty for being pregnant again and I wasn’t sure I could be a good mother to two children someone once told me that bringing more kids into this world was the best gift I could give you.
It was what I needed to hear and I repeated it to myself over and over when I brought your sister home from the hospital and you were staring out the window wondering why I couldn’t play because I had to feed her.
This is a gift; I am giving him a gift.
My heart grew the day she came into my world, but it also broke. I knew our relationship would be forever changed.
Next year there will be a lot of lasts for us.
It will be your last year living at home. I find myself more nostalgic than ever and memories of the time it was just the two of us have been swirling through my mind. Maybe I’m just not ready to let you go and this is my way of holding on a little tighter.
To be honest, my heart is breaking all over again at the thought of not being able to see you sit in the driveway and warm up your car, or hear you clomp down the stairs. I’m sure I’ll even miss the fact you can’t seem to remember to close the pantry door every time you get a snack, which is a lot.
I miss us. I’ve always missed us. But thinking about those years now as you approach your last year of high school has a little bit of an extra sting.
And I’d give anything to go back and have one day of you and me again. I just wanted you to know.
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