Tonight, for the first time in quite a long time, you were the last of the children awake at bedtime. It was quite a surprise when you, and not your brother, walked out of the bedroom at 10:42pm. I shouldn't have been surprised since you suddenly napped around 6pm after playing hard all afternoon making your sister giggle like crazy.
"Mommy, I'm tired," you spoke softly as you approached me. "Will you come lay by me?"
How could I resist? I dropped what I was doing and replied, "absolutely, buddy."
As I lay there, running my fingers through your hair as I have countless nights before, your eyelids started closing and your breath became more steady. It took only a few short minutes before you were sound asleep.
I stayed a while to watch you, to study your profile, and take in the quiet moment, just holding my baby boy.
I noticed I had the blanket tucked right up under your chin, and with the pale glow of the owl nightlight behind you, I had a flashback.
It was our first night alone together, November 2, 2010. You were one day old. Your dad had gone home for the night to tend to our dog, and I told him "It's okay. I got this." It was a long night, the first of many long nights, and you fought sleep like a champion. After I finally had you calmed down and dreaming, I placed your swaddled, tiny body in the bassinet by my hospital bed and took this photo to commemorate:
Tonight, not quite five years later, my tall, lanky, handsome little boy looked identical, in my mind, to your newborn baby self. I could see the same profile, and found it remarkable how you looked so similar and yet so strikingly different at the same time.
I remembered those words. "It's okay. I got this," and tears welled up in my eyes. Perhaps, they are more poignant and applicable to our lives now than they were that first night together.
I remember telling your newborn self that you were the best thing that had ever happened to us.
I still tell you that you're the best thing that has ever happened to me. I whisper it at night sometimes when you're falling asleep.
It's still true. You (and your brother and sister) very much are my greatest blessings.
You've recently started saying it back. It caught me completely off guard the first time, and each time after, I think my heart skips a beat.
We are in this together, buddy. We are in it forever. You made me a mommy, and we are learning as we go. But we will conquer the battles that may lay before us, and we will build a house filled with love.
My firstborn baby boy, (how dare I call you that, right? You're a big boy now...) I love you. Thank you for asking me to lay beside you tonight, and therefore, unknowingly reminding me that "I've got this" and life will be okay, even if it's vastly different from how we began our journey together.