Can I Still Hold You?


Mama will you still be able to hold me when I turn five? They are all getting so big, so fast. Just like everyone warned me. Soon they will be taking hour long questionable “showers” and stinking up the mud room. The smell of grass and mud caked into their hair, embedded in their tiny fingernails will no longer be sweet or savory. Manly perspiration will become plain intolerable stench (yes I have a big brother) and cause this mama faintness. But I daydream in small snippets that the teen years will bring scrabble games, times we are actually interested in the same movie and you won’t need a piggy back ride up the final hill. Your math skills will far excel mine and I won’t be able to win the race or pretend to tie. You will win fair and square. You will pass me, you will be faster, stronger, taller and yet younger, more pure, hopeful and barely cynical.

Will I still hold you, lift you to my hip and assure you the sting will dissipate, the disappointment will subside, the wound will heal? Metaphorically I pray I can do this forever. Will I still carry you the last mile and remain your confidant, the audience to your magnificent make believe, the mantra you write on your heart? God I hope so. I hope this never changes. I’m your mom, the mother, the crazy lady dancing in the front yard (yes the neighbors saw us shaking it all off), but of all I’m your mama. The one you call when you feel lost, hurt or maybe in a bit of a pickle. The one you still swap tales of yesterday: race car battles, epic Lego wars, pillow forts and Saturday morning pancakes (made to order by dad of course). The one you still want to ask a million (trillion) questions: can we visit heaven, how does Santa go to every house, how did you get born, does everyone have a birthday? The one you know believes in you, your heart, your talents, your unfaltering instinct of brotherly love. Your big spirit no one can burst. May all your giggles continue to pierce walls, break down barriers and echo hallways wherever you roam, reside, explore and conquer.

You will always be my babies, my boys, my beloveds. No matter how big, even when my hand fits inside your large palm and you tower above me–my babies you will be. I never thought I wanted to be a mom. Then I didn’t think we could and I finally realized: YOU were my dream and we had yet to meet. Now I’m triple blessed, overwhelmed with crazy love for little humans I helped bring into this world.

My arms could never stretch wide enough, my words could never represent the enormity of my love for you precious, wild things.

Hey mom, hey mother, hey parents, hey friends–hello to the mamas and the papas. This is hard. Letting them grow up, just be, make mistakes, learn hard lessons and earn good things. It’s all hard any way you slice it. May and June we enter the mother and father season. We celebrate the love and admiration we feel for our parents. We tell them how much we appreciate what they did, how they sacrificed and fought and argued and prayed and loved us all the days. May you feel loved, celebrated and may you know a friend over here (me) is cheering you on. I’m deep in this muck too, I’m swallowed whole because three little boys call me mama.

I hold the first born face in my hands and see a cherub, not an ornery first grader. He smiles at me and changes everything, his smile and charisma just might change the world. I listen to my middle guy recount his latest oratory and think this one’s a storyteller, a creator–what will he become? My word I’m astonished and proud. And little red is the most affectionate one. He hugs you tight and doesn’t want to let go. Barely two he follows everyone’s footsteps yet I think he has a walk like no other.

Go on brave bigs and littles. Go on and venture, see what you can see, journey together as families do and surprise me, us, you and them. We can do this, we can do hard but ever so lovely things. And maybe we can hold on tight, never let go and always help one another up the hills, down the last stretch home.