Oh, My Heart. Alternatively: Consider the Alternative

Last night, while trying to pack for the upcoming weekend trip the boys and I are taking to the Hills with some friends, I had a full-on, ugly crying, meltdown.

Why, you may ask? Which is fair, because who the fuck sobs while packing for a two day trip, which is gonna be pretty damn chill?

*Waves* I do.

But, in my defense, it wasn’t about the packing, it was about what I found while packing.

It is going to be a beautiful weekend in South Dakota. High 70s, in the beautiful Black Hills. But, we don’t have any shorts/tank tops/ summer clothes upstairs in 2T, which is the size Roarke is currently in. So, I sent Nate to the basement to help a sister out: which ended up in him bringing up two HUGE totes which have everything from 18 month to 3T clothes, and the hat I spent the first two summers of Roarke’s life looking for….

But, I digress. These totes also held memories. I looked through them and remembered G wearing these pajamas, or that outfit, or who gave him the cute Monster jammies.

And then…I found his first soccer “jersey” a yellow tee-shirt with a soccer ball on the front, and his number on the back. He wore it when he played Little Kickers at two years old. And, I fucking lost it.

How is this baby, not a baby anymore?! How is my sweet little blonde-haired, blue-eyed, bull in a China shop going to be five in June. And, more to the heartbreak of it, going to kindergarten in the fall?

I’m not kidding, you guys: ugly sobs, mascara running, holding the tee-shirt, crying over a baby who has grown to be a good, kind, boy. Bawling so hard my husband laughed as he was trying to console me, my youngest petted my head and said, “okay, mama?” and G, the root of the tears, sat on my lap and let me love him for a minute.

As a mom of boys, watching them grow is heartbreaking for me. I don’t want to be that Mother-in-law, or raise Mama’s Boys who can’t speak up for themselves or cut the apron strings. But I also don’t want to not be part of their lives. I don’t want to feel distanced from them as their adults; or from their children should they choose to have them.

It’s bittersweet, to see my babies grow into boys, who will grow into men. I can tell you now, they’ll outgrow me early: likely being taller than me in elementary, middle school. I want them to be good men: strong, kind, compassionate. But, I also want them to be the babies that I held, loved, rocked, and kissed.

It’s a double-edged sword.

I am, by nature, overly sentimental. I’ve always been a romantic, idealistic to a painful degree. I hold on to things that I don’t need: notes, programs, pictures, clothes…Parenthood has made this even more apparent.

Nate called my parents last night, and my dad’s response was, “Cayl, stop being so sentimental.” He may as well have told me to stop breathing, but I get it. The thought paths, the items, bring the tears. My mom’s response is based in experiences of some we know, “Better than the alternative.”

The alternative. Losing my babies. Them not getting a chance to grow. Not getting a chance to become. Not growing from a sweet, gangly two-year old to a precocious, hungry, almost five-year old. Not getting to experience their firsts, or lasts, for that matter. Not getting to hold them when they need held.

Not having them here with me, at all, period.

So, I’ll probably continue my overly-sentimental ways: mourning what’s gone, but excited for what’s to come. I’ll remember that I’m lucky to have them: to love them, to be angry at them, for them to be healthy, growing, moving, loving, learning, creating lives and boundaries for themselves as they become who they’re supposed to be.

They’ll always be mine, but they’ll learn to be their own people too. I’ll have them as long as I can, because I don’t even want to consider the alternative.

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