Wednesday, April 05, 2006

About a boy

Yesterday was my Opie’s first birthday. I’ll never know if it’s because he’s my first boy or my last baby, or just because he’s a different little person than his sister is, but I feel such a fierce love for him. It’s nothing at all like my feelings for Jo, who I (of course!) love deeply too. But she was, and mostly still is, easy to adore. She was a sweet, charming baby, captivating everyone around her effortlessly and completely. Now, at 4, she has plenty of spirit and sass, but she’s so clever and cute that you can’t help smiling at her.

But Opie. He was and is a challenge, a finicky little boy who knows just what he wants and protests mightily when he doesn’t get it. And what he usually wants is me. For months I was the only one who could hold him, soothe him, feed him, put him to sleep, comfort him in the night. Since none of us had any choice in the matter, he adjusted to the caregivers at his child care center. But at home, he wouldn’t stand for Daddy or Grandma or anyone else caring for him.

Anyone who’s held this favored status knows that it’s both a blessing and a curse. Of course I sometimes resented being on call all the time. Of course I loved being so special and important in my little boy’s eyes. But I also developed a defensive stance, a tough armor that envelops us both. While I can complain about his crying, his night wakings, his constant tugging at my pant legs, no one else better say a word—that’s my baby boy you’re talking about!

I’ve heard lots of moms say that they’d throw themselves in front of a train to save their kids, that they’d fight off a wild animal. I never felt that protectiveness, deep in my bones, until Opie. I believed it, in theory, when I had Jo and even before that. I mouthed the words. But it took Opie to awaken the feeling for real. If we’re ever confronted by a locomotive or a bear or playground bully, I’m ready. And I thank him for that.

Happy birthday, Opie-O.


Mrs. Wheezer said...

Happy Birthday Opie!

mothergoosemouse said...

He's just beautiful. I need to meet him.

Happy birthday Opie - we love you too!

Kristen said...

Thanks for visiting. What a sweet boy you have. Happy birthday!