Tonight after we read our three books and I sang our nightly song to you, you stood up and walked yourself to your own “big boy” bed. You climbed in and got snuggled up with your bunny, waiting for me to cover you and kiss you goodnight. Before that you went both #1 and #2 in the potty, and then eagerly waited for me to hand you your Spiderman toothbrush with the yummy bubblegum toothpaste on it. In what seems like weeks, you have transformed from a baby to a little boy.
As we oh-so-eagerly await the birth of your little sister, I’ve been trying to prepare you with a book each night titled, “You Were the First”. Gradually you’ve come to understand that you’re like that little boy in the story, and Baby E will come along and make you a big brother. But tonight as I watched you pad across the floor in your superman PJ’s, I realized that I’m the one who needs the toddler book, because I’m the one having a hard time letting go of my baby boy.
You were the first to come crashing into our naïve newlywed existence, like a rocket into the atmosphere. You sent us (but especially me) reeling with sleepless nights, the complete disappearance of quiet morning coffee time, and the realization that I would never ever be quite as self-focused again. Or at least not for a very long time.
You were the first to join us in our Call to the “ends of the earth”. It started with a year of life on the road, in a different city, house or hotel room every few days. “Home” was the weeks we spent in Pawpaw and Mimi’s basement. “Home” was also living out of the prius, guestrooms and hotels.
You were the first to learn to fall asleep in late night meetings.
The first to spend your days in the green second-hand car seat (hence learning to sit up, crawl and walk later than your peers—oops!).
The first to make the pack-n-play home, no matter what city we were in.
The first to love all of those thousands of new people every week. To make ladies in nurseries across the country smile and coo at how happy you were.
You were the first to sit in Daddy’s lap on the front row of a huge church and speak out gleefully (at the wrong moment).
The first to throw up in projectile fashion on Mommy while we stood on a platform and got prayed over.
You were the first to ride a big airplane for 16 hours straight.
You were the first to go with us to the Himalayas and make it “home”.
Despite freezing, damp nights with no power that gave you months-long congestion. Despite new tastes and new people, and jangly wedding music that would reverberate through our apartment at 1am, you loved this new world more than we did. You taught me to love a new place and people because it made you laugh and learn and grow.
You were the first to learn words like “yes, maam”, “chai”, and “monkey” in two languages.
You were the first to teach us how to be parents.
How to shush and swaddle a fussy newborn. How to keep feeding you new, strange foods till you loved everything. How to use time-out, and how not to lose our minds when your favorite word became “no!”.
I’m having an emotional Mommy moment tonight, and I’m realizing that our little family will never be the same. We’ve made some pretty incredible memories in these past two and a half years, Little Man. Just you, me and Daddy. And while we’re so excited to meet Baby E. and for our family to become four, it’s hard to say goodbye to you as my baby.
I just want you to know that I’ll always thank God for the way you turned my world upside down. Some days I know that I’ll still treat you like my baby boy, even when you hate it.
But on days when you don’t feel like being the responsible “big brother”, remember that you were the first.
The first to transform me, and to steal my heart in a way that no one else ever will.