Every morning when I pull out of the drive way to take Sean to school, Antique Daddy stands in the garage waving and wiping tears and Sean sits in the backseat, waving and wiping tears. And I’m like, “Dudes, get a grip. We’ll be back right after lunch.” I am crusty.
We are a family that spends a lot of time together. Antique Daddy works from home and rarely travels and as a stay-at-home mom, I’m at home a lot as well which works out for the most part, but we get a lot of togetherness. So this past week when I travelled to Las Vegas for about four days, it was one of the rare occasions when we were not all together.
And I have to be honest with you, I enjoyed my time away. I enjoyed sleeping in my own bed, eating whatever and whenever I wanted and basically reverting back to the day when all I had to think about was my own comfort. It was kind of nice not to have to wipe anyone’s butt or look for shoes that were not my own for four whole days.
But on the day I packed my bag to go home, I was ready. I had enjoyed a taste of being self-centered and it was yummy and refreshing, but a taste was just enough.
As the plane hurled eastward through the pink sky of a setting sun, I looked forward to being with the two people that oft times drive me nutty with their daily tears and waving and inability to keep track of their own shoes. But I also thought about the people who taught the classes I had attended. I’ve been to their web sites and seen their travel schedules and I don’t know how they do it. Not just the exhausting pace and the gypsy lifestyle, but spending so much time away from the people they love.
Tonight, I slipped into Sean’s bedroom after he fell asleep to take one last look at him and turn off the lights. It seemed to me that he had grown in the four days I was gone. He had fallen asleep with a book in his hands. I gently lifted the book away and removed the die cast cars and the assortment of plastic crud treasures he hauls into his bed every night like a pack rat.
I flashed back to the days of his infancy when I would check on him and he would be asleep with his fat little knees and hands tucked up under his chest and his tiny bottom in the air. I would cradle his velvety bald head in my hand and pat his bottom. I would lay my hand on his back and feel it rise and fall with each miraculous life-sustaining breath. I would measure the sole of his feet with the length of my finger. And when the urge to pick him up out of his crib and sniff his neck and wrap him up in my arms became too hard to resist, I would turn and leave the room. You never wake a sleeping baby. Grandmas do, tired mommys don’t.
Now, as I looked down upon a boy who is ready to read books and whose frame fills the bed from end to end and whose foot measures beyond the length of my finger, I cursed myself for not giving in and lifting him out of his crib more often.
It seems to me that God gives you just the tiniest taste of the sweetness of infancy, just enough to always remember there is nothing else like it and once it’s gone, you spend the rest of your life longing for just one more taste. There are other sweet things in life that follow, that replace it, but there is nothing else like it.
The urge to pick him up out of his bed and sniff his neck was as overwhelming as ever, but the days when that was possible are all but over. I wondered where his dreams had taken him tonight. I stood and prayed over him and then I bent down and cradled his head with my hand and kissed him lightly on the forehead. When I stood to leave I noticed his foot sticking out from under the blankets. I pressed my hand to the sole of his foot and measured it.
In life, sometimes a taste is enough and sometimes it’s never enough.