“Mommy, I want to be a baby again…” Tears were welling up in my son’s eyes as his voice wavered. His grip on my hand tightened.
“Why is that, sweetheart?” I resisted the urge to tell him that he would be my baby forever. I remember wanting to roll my eyes whenever my own mother would say that. It never made me feel better about anything.
“Because when I was little you could cuddle me better.” He sniffed, wiping snot with his free hand. “Can’t I be a baby again, mommy?”
“No can do, darling.” I hugged him. “We can’t turn back time.”
I had not rembered the fact that I, too, had mourned the passage of time similarly as a child, but it all came flooding back as I sat next to him in the glow of the rocket ship nightlight.
Growing up was exciting and bittersweet: Deciding that I should not suck my thumb or cuddle a stuffed animal at bedtime seemed like a good idea until it got dark, but I could not back down once I said it out loud. There were times I would stare longingly at my teddy from my bedroom, but grown up girls don’t need those silly things, right? I remember developing boobs and finding it terribly upsetting that my knees would never again touch my shoulders. Growing out of that beautiful red and white frilly dress hand-me-down from the “rich” girl at church with the stiff petticoat that made it stand out and swirl like a dream when I spun around.
Realizing that I did not have a bedroom to come back home to when it was converted into a guest room.
The first time that I understood that “Coopers Droopers”* was a real phenomenon.
Whose face is that again?
It actually gave me some peace to realize this is not anything new for me or him or anyone else. We all mourn and grieve our youth, the march of time, and hopefully move on and that is just fine. I am not vain or flawed. I am human and that is a beautiful thing.
Photo taken somewhere in Switzerland…
*Coopers Ligaments are part of what make breasts “perky” and they get lax with age. In medical school we referred to them jokingly as “Coopers Droopers”. I can tell you now that it is not a joke…