For a long time I was mama to one. A long time. Nearly twenty years.

And then… surprise.

Now I am mama to an almost 21 year old, and mom-mom to a 10 month old.

Perhaps I’m biased, but believe me when I say I have the handsomest, sweetest, smartest, funniest boys. And I am the luckiest mama.

My oldest and I moved a lot. Many cross-country trips. long treks, during which, he was packed into the back seat with his game boy, a pillow and our most necessary belongings. He was a great travelling companion.

I was a single mom for a lot of those years, so it was the two of us against the world.

We hid out in the closet, eating mac ‘n’ cheese, as a storm raged and threatened tornado one spring in Kentucky. We went to the park and swung high on the swings. We threw rocks in the Puget Sound and climbed over driftwood obstacle courses. We watched the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. We made great friends in Texas and went to barbecues, and picnics, and pool parties, and hung out and had laughs and tears all the things that make life fascinating. And we read books, and watched movies, and played games. And we both grew older.

Once, when he was four, he insisted that he would always live with me, even when he was an old man. I was merging onto the freeway in Seattle, and I told him that he wouldn’t always want to live with me, that someday he’d be grown and want to be out on his own, and that when he was an old man, I would probably be gone. Moments later I heard a heartbreaking sob coming from the back seat. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw my sweet boy, tears wetting his darling face.

“Baby, what’s wrong?”

“Oh, but mama!” he wailed, “I wanted to KEEP you!”

Heart. Broken.
Heart. Open.

That’s love, isn’t it? Keeping your heart open when it hurts. Even when you know love will break your heart. Because it does.

But love is also… everything. The whole reason.

When he was 13, he made the very grown-up decision to move to Seattle to live with his dad. As much as I had prepared myself for the possibility of this move, I was totally unprepared for how it would feel.

The day he flew out to Seattle was awful. This boy, the one I loved more than anything or anyone in the whole-big-wide-world, was leaving on an adventure of his own. I was both devastated… and proud.

As we waited for his flight to begin boarding, I sat silently, holding his hand, holding my shit together, until I looked at him, and saw my sweet boy, tears wetting his darling face.

We spent the rest of the wait sobbing and hugging.

Sometimes our kids break our hearts. Sometimes we break theirs.

Love is not perfect.

Nor is it easy.

But it is… everything.

Starting anew with my tiny wonder has made me over-the-top blissful. My little man is the happiest baby. (Unless he’s hungry, tired, or has a soiled diaper. Then he’s quite capable of throwing the most incredible fit you ever did see!)

He is an observer, this one. Round eyes wide and ready to take in everything. He is keenly aware and divinely curious about his world and all that goes on around him. He loves outside time, on the trails or by the water, places where he can see and hear nature. And he LOVES people, the bigger the crowd, the better! He is fascinated by movement and motion.

He loves music, dancing, and singing. And he absolutely loves to jump!

I love watching him enjoy. He is all celebration and laughter.

And he oozes love. It spills out from his shining eyes and his giant smile and his tiny finger tips and all his pores.

and isn’t that just… the whole thing?