Ten years ago today my first baby was due to be born. I had hoped he would come early, but he came four days late instead.
I was uncomfortable, in pain, unable to sleep, and ready for the miserable season of late pregnancy to be over. I remember sitting on our denim sofa, eating chocolate and watching an entire season of Alias while he pushed his big head into every painful spot he could find and tried to break my ribs with his feet.
A friend of mine with several children tried to speak some truth to me. She pointed to my bulge of a belly and broke it to me gently, "It's easier to take care of a baby in there than it is out here."
I nodded, smiled and then I chose to completely ignore her. I wanted to hold my baby. I wanted to see his eyes, his nose, hear his little gurgles, and get on with our life as a family.
I was ready.
Today, though, I'm not so sure I was ever ready. Or maybe I'm just a little afraid to have double digits in the age of my child.
He says he's happy to be turning ten, but he can't wait to be sixteen. I laugh and smile when he proclaims his age and then wilt and ache in the privacy of my own soul. Sitting on a sofa in extreme discomfort with a bowlfull of chocolate seems like an easy task compared to slowly letting a child grow up and away from home.
But I look at my friends with children leaving for college, and I have a feeling it's easier to take care of growing kids in this house than it is to send them out there in the great unknown.
This time around, I'm going to sit pretty and embrace the time that's left.
So I will pull my almost ten year-old close and tell him that I love him. I will play him in cards, shoot baskets with him, and let him tell me all about his dreams of being in the Air Force and playing professional football. I will share my chocolate with him on the sofa and listen to him retell the highlights from his basketball games this morning. He will put his head on my shoulder and tell me he loves me, and I will let him stay there for a long, long time.
My son is too big to hold in my arms, and too small to drive a car. He is too old to play Thomas the Train, and too young to drive a car. It is pure joy, the way he fits perfectly right here beside me, with my arm on his shoulder and his around my waist.
I suppose I am ready for ten years old after all. Gah, I just love this kid....