So maybe we let Kai stay up later than we should.
Or gave him a few more Animal Crackers or sips of Diet Coke. I may have given him a slice of gum or two when Kim wasn’t looking.
When he hid the Tivo remote for a day we laughed it off. Had it been Lincoln, who knows if Scooby Doo privileges would be reinstated.
Whatever the reasons, the arrival of Kai has been different. Different from the previous three.
I’d like to tell you I was deeply involved with each child when they were newborns and toddlers. And I was to some extent, but it wasn’t consistent. There’s a difference showing up and being involved. I was there. But I wasn’t always engaged. The computer or game was in the foreground while my kids disappeared into the background.
Within four months of Anna Lynn’s birth we sold our home, lived with two grandparents, switched jobs, and relocated to a small down 1500 miles away from the only friends our kids knew.
By the time I got settled my baby daughter was no longer a baby. I wanted to rock her to sleep. But she wanted to run around the house. I wanted to spoon feed her applesauce. She wanted to feed herself. That window of opportunity where I could sit her down next to me on the couch and she couldn’t jump off?
Things have been different with Kai. I’m sure part of that is due to regret.
And the fact that he might be our last child.
Kim brought Kai home to me tonight while she ran an errand with the other kids. Had this one of our first three children, I would have sat him on the floor, given him a few toys and kept my fingers crossed he didn’t discover the scissors and gum in my top drawer.
But tonight I didn’t push him into the background hoping he wouldn’t bother me.
Instead I placed him on the cushions I’d pulled off the couch and looked into his big blue eyes. And then I pulled faces and giggled and tickled his belly button until he had tears running down his chubby cheeks. What felt like a few minutes turned into half an hour, and I could not possibly be any happier.
Moments like this are magical. Just me and my son who will be two in November. He doesn’t say much yet. But that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. He doesn’t have to say anything because I can see his joy reflected back in those eyes.
And yet I know that no matter how much he’s enjoying our time together, I’m enjoying it even more.
Because I know what it feels like to miss it entirely.