In a little over an hour from now, I will have been a mother for six years.
There are so many emotions that come with that sentence. Nostalgia. Disbelief. Love. Relief.
I've survived this journey for six years, so far. There were times I wasn't sure I would make it to this point. Times when I was ready to give up. A time when I very nearly walked out of the lives of my tiny son and my husband, convinced that everyone would be better off if I simply lived somewhere else. My body and my brain have attacked themselves, repeatedly, trying to convince me that this motherhood thing just isn't for me. Some days, I cried and wished the years would fly by so that I could maybe, someday, enjoy motherhood.
I've gotten my wish.
These six years have flown, faster than I could have ever believed. And there are days that my eyes well up with tears, realizing that my tiny baby who once fit in the crook of my arm is gone forever. Days when I look at pictures of his first smiles, his first sword fight, his round toddler face that is now but a memory, and wish for a moment, I could snuggle that tiny boy again.
But I wouldn't go back.
Because those years were hard. Those pictures of a smiling child also remind me of the struggles I faced every single day just to stay afloat. Of the anxiety that brought me to my knees, and the depression that then left me ... empty.
No, I would never go back to that time, because I have worked so hard to change the person I was then into the person I am now. And there is no way to relive the good without also reliving the ugly.
Oh, how I miss his chubby fists, with the dimples in the knuckles! And the way his little body used to grow suddenly heavy as he finally gave into sleep. The way he could curl up on my chest, and fit so neatly, because he was made to fit there.
But, now, I have it even better.
Now, I have his long, gangly legs, racing me to the car. Now, I have jokes whose punchlines are hilarious if only for their absurdity. Now, I have teaching him to read, and delighting with him every time he can write my name. I have daily pictures of a stick-person me next to a heart, so that I remember he loves me, even when he's at school all day. I still have fierce hugs, and tickle fights, and cuddles on the couch. And I still have the best little boy in the entire world.
The difference is that now I can enjoy him, as he is today.
So, if I could make a wish now, as I did back then, it would be this:
Dear God, please, please slow the time now. I needed it to fly by before, but now . . .
Now, I want to enjoy being this boy's mother.