To my sons at almost 10 and 12:
Before I had you I was BIG. You see I had grown up, from a child who didn’t always make good choices to an adult who made better ones. I had BIG issues and BIGGER dreams and it was all very important. MY happiness was the BIGGEST driver of the day, the month and the year. MY career. MY love life. MY Schedule. MY Friends. There was little room for much else besides me, which was fortuitous because it turns out there wasn’t much else there.
Then you were born and that was HUGE. And suddenly I felt so very little. My largest needs which were once so very important were completely dwarfed by your tiny cries, and itty bitty fingers that wrapped around my thumb. And while I mattered in a GIGANTIC way to you, I unexpectedly mattered very little to myself. Nothing I wanted felt remotely worthy of a priority. In fact, I don’t remember wanting much at all in the months after you arrived.
As you grew, I became BIG again because you needed me to be. I was your BIGGEST advocate, your BIGGEST protector and your BIGGEST fan. I felt BIG when I saw you looking for me in audience at the school play and when you made a beeline to me with tears streaming down your face when you fell on the play ground. I felt BIG every time I sang you that song that you love before you went to sleep and when you woke me up in the middle of the night because you were sick. I felt BIG cutting the crusts off your sandwich and sprinkling Rice Krispies on top of your oatmeal like my Mom did for me. Every single time you looked up at me from a hug, your arms wrapped around my legs, I felt BIG.
When you hugged me this weekend after the family fight, your arms reached around my shoulders and suddenly I felt rather little again. You don’t have the same BIG needs you once did. You can make a sandwich for yourself and I would never suggest a song before bed. On some days I seem to matter very little to you as you rush by on your way to other BIG things. This time next year, you may even be BIGGER than me. I have made you promise that you will carry me around when that happens. I think you agreed because you thought it never would. But I know better.
You won’t always be my little boys. In fact you’re old enough now that calling you my BIG boys makes you sound littler than you actually are. But I will never forget how little you once were, and how little I felt holding you, and how BIG my heart grew because of you.
Being your Mom has and will always be a privilege no matter how much you fight and I yell. For every inch you have grown, I have grown 5 somewhere inside. And we have all become BIGGER people in spite of ourselves.