So we have a new game we play in the Sanders' house. It has evolved out of a good game of playing "night-night." Of all the games we play, I won't lie... I rock at "night-night." It may be my very favorite game. I'm especially fond of the part where I am laying down and closing my eyes, snuggled up for a very brief moment beside my busy boy.
And because he is so busy, I steal, coax, and win kisses from him at every possible opportunity.
I have no shame. A kiss from this kid could get him just about anything from the treat box on the top shelf in our pantry- if he gets wise enough to start putting a price on them.
Last week I told him that I was his princess... and the only way to wake his princess up was with a kiss. (I told you, I have no shame.)
He got very, very good at this game. I would close my eyes, pretend to sleep, only to be woken by sloppy, wet toddler kiss planted firmly on my lips, from a 2-year-old Prince, squatting beside me, head cocked to one side, concern spread across his forhead. After waking his princess, he would fling himself across me, as I cheered him on for bravely waking his princess and he would cheer me on for being a princess. (It's a tough role to play, but someone has to do it.)
As the game evolved, he became "Prince Ah-ver" who would "fight de dragons" and "kiss de Princess Mommy."
And if playing a game once is good.
Playing it 100 times is better.
And I'm not arguing. I'll take kisses from him anyway I can get them.
After he woke from his nap one afternoon this week, I laid beside him on his bed... and naturally he began the millionth round of "Fight de dragons and Kiss de Princess." And as I laid there, my face covered in toddler drool, with Prince Ah-ver draped across my chest and late afternoon sun streaming through his bedroom window, my breath caught in my chest as I thought about Her.
Somewhere She was waking up from her own nap, with sleepy dust in her eyes and wild hair swirling around her face.
The one his heart will adore.
The one he will fight dragons for.
The princess he will long to kiss.
And I did what I could to capture the moment in my heart. I love being his Princess Mommy. I love cheering on his bravery and receiving his wet kisses and catching him as he flings himself towards me, chubby hands and squishy legs.
It is a precious thing, to be a boy mom.
And in the afternoon sun, laying on his rocket ship and robot quilt, with Daniel Tiger tucked in beside us, it felt so fleeting.
I will always, always be his mommy.
The one who wakes up in the middle of the night when he's sick. The one he runs to when he's scared of a "Buuuggg!!!!". The one who remembers the snack, and the sippy, and the matchbox car for his bag. The one who picks him up after a tumble, all elbows and knees and snot and tears. The one who sings, the one who plays "Snuuugggeee", the one who knows he's terrified of bandaids. The one who kneels beside his bed at night, with a prayer and a kiss. The one who rocked him for hours and hours during the fussy days of infancy. The one who rocks him now during the insecurities of toddlerhood. I am the only woman who will be all that for him.
But this week, I am so aware that my princess days are numbered.
And that is good, and heartbreaking, and sweet, and beautiful, and terrifying. And I am filled with hope for the little girl who is blinking sleepy eyes as she wakes up from her nap. And I am filled with pride at the man he is already becoming.
And I will play "Fight de dragons and Kiss de princess" as many times as he asks.
And I will treasure the sloppy wet kisses, and the way he squats beside me to plant them firmly on my lips.
You are such a great adventure, Prince Ah-ver.