You're six months old today. I feel like one gigantic parenting cliche when I say that I have no idea how this even happened. How has time flown by so fast that you are already halfway to a year old?
But time is a funny thing. I've always known this, the way time tends to stretch out and contract depending on the circumstances, but never more so since you came blazing into my life. When you were about nine days old, I was sitting on the couch with your grandma and I was holding you while you slept and I was exhausted, half-asleep. I mentioned to her that I felt like I had lived a lifetime in the less than two weeks since you were born. She smiled. Maybe even laughed a little. "That's parenthood," she said to me. "It's a lifetime and it's also five minutes."
I have realized over and over in the past six months just how exactly right she was. Because even though it seems like just days ago that we locked eyes for the first time, I also sometimes feel like I can't remember a time when you weren't here, growing and changing and becoming a person with opinions and preferences and a personality that gets bigger every day.
At six months old you are the happiest baby around. My favorite moment of the day is when I walk into the house after work and you see me in the doorway and you give me that open-mouth grin that is absolutely my favorite. You know me, I always think. You know that I'm your mom. And that's just magic.
You love to smile and talk to yourself and to us. Sometimes, when you wake up in the morning, you are perfectly content to lay in your crib and babble away to yourself and it makes me wonder about what's going on in your head, and about all the things that you'll be saying once you learn the words. You are more judicious with your giggles, holding them back until you find something really, really funny. I'm the best at getting you to laugh though, and that fact makes me exceptionally, unreasonably happy.
This past month, you were sick for the first time. You had a cold and a high fever and for two days you barely cracked a smile. On the second night it was hard for you to sleep. You were hot and restless and weepy and every time I heard you cry I came in and picked you up from your crib and sat with you in our big grey chair. I covered you with a blanket and we rocked until you fell back to sleep. And there, in the darkness of 3am, with your head heavy on my shoulder, I wanted with everything I had to make you feel better, and I thought that I had never felt more like a mom than I did in that moment.
It's funny how it happens. I became a parent in the big moments of your life - the day you were born, the day you came home from the hospital. But it's in the quiet moments - feeding you in the middle of the night when you were a new baby, packing your little backpack every night for daycare, walking with you in your stroller down a sunny, summer street, rocking you to sleep - that I became a mom.
I want what's best for you with a fierceness that I sometimes don't recognize. I want you to be healthy and happy and to know how much we love you and that we will always, always be on your side. I want the world to be kind to you. I want to protect you from disappointment and sadness and mean kids and high school even though I know that I can't and that I wouldn't even if I could because those are the things that build character and make you interesting. The truth is, all that wishing and wanting and hoping can sometimes be overwhelming. But then, you look up at me with your big, blue, curious eyes that seem to see everything and I realize that I am trying my very best and you are exactly where you need to be and we are doing just fine.
You are getting so big, and it seems like every day some shirt or pair of pants that fit you yesterday is too small all of a sudden. And while putting clothes that you have outgrown into separate bins labeled by size appeals to my great love of organization, it also makes me a little bit sad. I sometimes miss the tiny baby you once were, even though watching you grow and change over the past six months has been my great pleasure. This is the paradox of motherhood, I think. Nostalgia for the months and years behind you and excitement for what lies ahead, all tied together with the visceral understanding that one day, if I do my job right, you are going to grow tall and strong and independent and take your first steps away from me and I am going to have to let you go.
But not yet, ok?
Happy six months, my sweet Will. I am so proud to be your mom, and I am so lucky that you are mine.