My son's fifth birthday party was today, and as usual, I can't remember much of what I said to anyone. I probably sounded silly and distracted, and I have a habit of stopping mid-sentence and just sort of trailing off. I used to stay awake at night going over everything I said and cringing, but now I realize that I'm not so important that people are obsessing over what I say...I hope.
I've stayed up too late. Again. I go upstairs to bed, and my husband and son are lying next to each other, in mirror image poses with arms above their heads, which makes me laugh. My husband, still wearing his clothes from the party, and obviously exhausted, doesn't move. My son whispers in his sleep, the only time he's quiet, and moves toward me, laying his head on my hip. As much as it exasperates me during the times I'm busy, I love how my children don't seem to see me as separate from their own bodies, and climb over me, press into me, and rub their lips and faces on my clothing. My son's most precious possession is a black stuffed bear toy made from my favorite sweater that he took from a laundry basket and nuzzled and burrowed into until he put a hole in it. Sometimes, he'll surreptitiously take a shirt I've worn into his room, and I'll find it later in his bed.
Now, at the start of his sixth year, he is balancing his adoration with separation. He sometimes covers his body with his hands, and no longer wants or needs my help in the bathroom. When he cried last week, he told me he wanted to be alone. I look at him, his sweet face asleep, and I sit up, leaning forward to more easily type, and he makes a soft kitten noise, moves with me and presses his cheek against my back, eyes closed and still dreaming. I know it won't last, and it shouldn't, I want him to push away from me and grow and be strong and have adventures and everything else a mother wants for her son, but just for right now, instead of carrying him to his bed, I'm going to hold my son tightly and sleep.