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Home Is Where Your Mom Is

Yesterday at dinner Andy and I were discussing our virtual diversion, Facebook. We've both connected with a number of old high school friends and in Andy's case, maybe even some old flames. Of course, this lead to a spirited discussion about exes and romantic behavior during our youth.

While we talked, Caroline shoveled grapes and raviolis into her mouth and tried to rub her grubby hands on Andy's senior yearbook. (I had to look up the old girlfriends and comment on their tacky hair and ugly outfits.) At the end of the conversation I turned to Caroline and said, "Now, Caroline. You are never going to date in high school. Or college." She gave me a goofy smile and motioned to get down from her chair. My comment was just to be silly and to include Caroline in our fun, but really, the statement made my stomach turn.

One day she isn't going to be a baby. She's going to be a teenager and she'll have a boyfriend and drive car. She'll go to college and she won't need me anymore.

As Caroline took her tubby and we got ready for bed, she was extra clingy. In the bath and while dressing, she clung to me, flinging her arms and legs around my arms and waist. She buried her tiny little face in my shoulder. I could feel her warm breath on my neck and her baby fingers gently brushing my back. We read some books and tucked her in. Well actually, she hopped up and down in her crib and yelled "Wiiiizzzzaaaa!" and we blew her kisses and shut the door.

An hour later I peeked into her crib, placed my hand on her belly to feel the rhythmic rise and fall of her stomach and caressed her cheek. And, I started to cry. How much longer will I have my baby? She's growing and I can't catch her and keep her little. Before I know it, her baby belly and cheeks will be gone and she'll be too big to wrap herself around me.

I'm overwhelmed by this feeling and sad because I hear every parent say the same thing, "They grow so fast." Hardly anyone says, "Oh, I'm so glad they grow so fast because when she was a baby she was horrible but now she's a sweet, lovable teenager."

I can only hope that Caroline will feel toward me the same as I feel for my mom. Maybe I can't wrap my arms and legs around her like I used to but I want to. I'm excited to see her when we visit and just being in her presence offers me the same comfort as it did when I was a child.

After a rough day at school I used tell my mom all about its highs and lows. Today, she is the first person I call when I have good or bad news. (She knew I was pregnant before Andy.) Now with Caroline in our lives, we talk about what I was like when I was that age, if Caroline looks like I did or acts how I acted. I wonder if she looks at me now but sees my two year-old self, baby cheeks and ringlets, reaching my arms around her legs, calling her "mommy."

I know not everybody is lucky enough to still have a mom or to have a relationship like I have with my mom. My wish is, even when Caroline is too big to wrap herself around me, that I am still able to offer her comfort and security just as my mom does for me.

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