On a Monday morning, my day started the way it usually does now - with a bowl of cereal that I'm begging my nearly-five-year-old not to spill on the chair...again. The dogs were let out into the backyard and the cats were trying to sit on my chest while I wrestled this boy into fresh clothes and tried to ensure he was presentable.
See, J started Jump Start, a program for kiddos about to enter school for the first time, that morning. He was extremely excited; after a year cooped up in the house with his dad, he was ready to make new friends and see new faces. He would only be there for about three hours - kindergarten didn't start until late in the month, here.
His dad was excited for him, and nervous, and ready to walk him down the street, two blocks, to his new school. I was a nervous wreck. And how strange that is, considering I've only been here for three months.
I love this darling boy more than I ever thought I could love anything. He's my top priority and one of the biggest reasons I smile every day, along with one of the biggest reasons I end up shouting strange things like "DO NOT CARRY THE CAT LIKE A SACK OF POTATOES!"
It hit me, very suddenly, that I'm actively doing for this little boy what my mother did for me.
I make sure this little boy has food to eat and juice to drink and games to play and a place to crash when his seemingly boundless energy reaches its peak at about four in the afternoon. I wash and pick out his clothes, cuddle him when he's tired, kiss his cuts and scrapes and bruises better, wipe away tears when he's upset and tell silly stories to make him laugh.
He tells me all about his imaginary friends and his video games, his love for the cats (aforementioned sack of potatoes), and his favorite places to visit. He runs to me first for food and juice and stories and playtime and cuddles and comfort (except, of course, when he's running to his dad). He tells me he loves me out of the blue.
Being suddenly thrust into motherhood is terrifying, and made more so by the fact that I am coming into a child's life after it's already started. I worry every day that I'll do something catastrophically wrong and that I'm not doing everything I can to protect him and make sure he grows up happy and healthy. I worry and fret and love him so much it hurts.
But watching him walk away into a classroom for the first time, holding his Paw Patrol backpack and making friends in the first five seconds of freedom, I knew I was doing something right.
How strange to be on the other side of this relationship, and to know that I, too, wouldn't trade that little voice, calling to Mom, for anything in the world.