Today my son lost his tooth. Just like that, without letting me know that once again he would rip my heart out of my body, beating so hard. It’s difficult to contain the tears but I smile widely, let him know what a big boy he is. I watch as he joyfully shows me that big gap, so much bigger than he knows.
I remember vividly the day I went to the hospital, waited for the medication to take effect, the one that would get my body to work, to push out this tiny human being. I waited for the contractions to come, not knowing what to expect, having heard the stories.
What no one tells you, what they forget to say, is how instantaneously the pain leaves your body when those mothering hormones kick in. When your body feels the warmth of that fragile body, when your insides start contracting inside you to reshape, reform to what it was before it managed to miraculously accomplish this, this great marvel.
They forget to tell you about that first breath, when you know you will never forget what this barely there person smells like. You know that if you lost your sight tomorrow you would still find them in a crowded room. They are so distinctly yours. There is no mistaking that mouth, nose, those squinting eyes; and yet he looks nothing like you, though you search for a hint of his father, yourself.
No one tells you that that life, which began nine months earlier, that creature growing inside you, they will take your breath away. They will test you in every way possible, make you wish you were stronger, make you wish you knew more. That tiny thing grew so fast but you felt every twinge, every backache that kept you up at night, seared itself in your brain.
The night when he woke up crying and you searched every inch of his little body to find what hurt, you knew which part of your body hurt the entire three hours of crying, it was your heart breaking. When he finally calmed, resting in your arms, rocked to sleep by the only thing he knew to cling to, you were so exhausted, yet you stayed in your rocking chair just a little longer, not wanting to part with him now that you knew what would always cure his ails, you.
I sniffed his head and flashed back to that day, those three days, it took to bring him into the world. Who am I kidding, he brought me into the world, finally alive, screaming, grasping, so fragile and unsure of just how I would take care of him.