When did he stop?
“Tell me a story about when I was a baby,” he says, as we wait at the red light.
This is not my favorite game.
I struggle to come up with these memories on the spot - even more so, when my head's filled with the morning’s to-do list.
But it IS his favorite game.
I look over my shoulder at my five year old.
My last baby.
In his last year of preschool.
His legs stretch well below the car seat. His face is starting to thin. His eyes sparkle in anticipation, hoping for something funny.
The light turns green, and I’m struck with a memory.
“When you were a baby, you would call my name the entire time we were in the car.
You’d say, ‘Mama,’ and I’d say, ‘Yes?’
And you’d say, ‘Mama,’ and I said, ‘I’m right here,’
And you’d say ‘Mama’, and I’d say, ‘What’s up?’
And you’d say, ‘Mama,’
And you wouldn’t STOP saying, ‘Mama’ until we got where we were going.”
He erupts in throaty giggles – his laugh ever since his baby days, and I feel myself melt.
In truth, the ‘Mama’ thing drove me nuts. If I didn’t respond, he’d start crying. And when I did, he said nothing more than, ‘Mama’. It’s a recipe for making anyone crazy, if there ever was one.
When did he stop doing that? I wonder.
And then I find myself a bit nostalgic for those baby days with chubby cheeks and snuggles and car rides, with his sweet voice calling, ‘Mama,’ as our soundtrack.
How I wish I had a film clip of it.
We pull into his preschool’s parking lot, and before he hops out of the van, I give him an extra big hug - one that I hope says, Keep asking me to tell you baby stories. I'm not ready for you to stop.
What about you? What’s something that drives you a little nuts right now, but know you’ll look back on with a smile and a melted puddle of a heart?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell me. I love real stories.