Sunday, June 1, 2008

On The Edge, Peering Over


Dear Henry,

I feel like we're standing on the edge of a big precipice, you and I. I think that's because we are. Our dynamic duo's about to become a trio. And as much as I'm tickled about the impending change, (ie the addition of your baby sister,) I'm also apprehensive about it. It's something I have a hard time explaining to other people -- it seems the attempt only leaves them wondering if I'm excited at all to be expecting a little girl.
I am.
Of course, I am.
But can't excitement and apprehensiveness coexist? Excitement and ache, even? Because I'm kind of aching about the close of this chapter of life -- the Henry and Mama chapter; it's been so adventure-filled and revelatory. And also, one of my life's mottoes is "anxiety proceeds the miracle" (or something like that) and nothing of import ever happens to me save I have first worried and stewed and fretted unnecessarily about it. For this and many other reasons, I hope you got more of your father's DNA than mine.

I know I've said this in one of these letters before, but I wish I could put portions of you away in Ball Mason jars so just in case I don't get a sufficient sup of your smells and sounds and exclamations now, I can untwist a seal a few years down the road -- and there you'll be, three year old you, to consume in savory sound bytes and sniffs.

Here's what I want:
I want some of your sweaty-headed boy smell. Is it naive of me to think that maybe thirty years from now, when I'm sitting alone in a perfectly straightened living room, void of sports helmets, "golf ball clubs" and a zillion misplaced nerf and whiffle balls, the whiff of that familiar smell might bate the sting of missing little you for a moment?

I'd also like a jar of your rambunctious PlayWithMe voice that entreats me to, "find my tickle spot, mom. And get me! GET ME!" And the ensuing laughter that hurtles from your belly when I tickle the little patch of your chest that sits right under your chin.

I want a two-quart jar of the smell of sleeping Henry -- all the flavors: freshly bathed with the "teddy bear soap." Slightly chlorinated after an evening trip to the hot tub with daddy. Bold, garlicky zephyr when your last ingested food item of the night was a dill pickle the size of your face. LA Looks laden on the days when you've helped yourself to a glob of daddy's hair gel.

And I want a jar of your raspy, first-utterance-of-the-day-voice, the one that gets two inches from my ear every morning and says, "Mom, is your tummy hungry for breakfast? 'Cause mine is." And a jar of your lookie-here voice that declares, "I bet my daddy's really going to like dis," as you stand back and admire the "family home evening tent" you've just created with bed sheets, bath towels and dining room chairs. And one filled with your super-emphatic voice that announces, through a throat strained with excitement, that a "really, really, big. Huge. Enormous. GIGANTIC. helicopter just flied over our house." I can't italicize or capitalize enough to capture the enthusiasm behind your words. See, that's why I need these jars. Because sometimes you are just so much bigger than the space in my heart. I need a place to hold the excess.

And what about when your sister joins us? Whatever will I to do then, with more love? And this same old, too-small heart? Maybe you could help me hold some of it. I hope so. If not, our house is going to be a big, sticky, gooey, lovey mess. Kind of like the tile floor this morning when you dropped the jar of raspberry jam on it while helping yourself to a snack. Or the counter-tops after your percussion solo with batter-covered beaters amidst the banana bread preparations this afternoon.

I'd even take a jar of that, Henry, (the spills and messes,) if it meant I could preserve the perfection of the rest of this stage for quick, gluttonous access in the future. You are my silly crush, my proudest accomplishment, my guiltless pleasure.

And I really. REALLY love you. Like, huge.



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