Lex turned twelve today.
I love him so much that if I stop to think about it it hurts my brain in the same way that thinking about how big the universe is hurts my brain.
I made him a cake, bought his current favorite ice cream, and took all the kids out for dinner at a place he loves.
There are no photos from the restaurant, which is really too bad because it was full of cool little treasures from Mexico, but not surprising because he is now twelve. He saw me start to bring my camera in and gave me the look. All through dinner my finger was twitching, but I survived without photos of the plates and dioramas and 1970s bullfighting posters on the walls. Just.
He loved his gift, even though it was not a cell phone.
(Note to self: new curtains – now officially elevated to A Need rather than A Want)
Of course I thought a lot today about the fact that he’s 2/3 through the part of his life where I’m responsible for him. In another few years, he’s going to be packing up and leaving. Thinking about it makes my brain do that thing again, so I’ll just set that aside for another time.
Sometimes when I look at him, I can see his little chunky baby face in there looking back at me. It’s only ever for a second; a flash in a smile, or sometimes a frown. Concentration. Other times, especially if the light is low, I look at him and can see the man that he’s growing into. He’s still so between those places. Forgive the cliche, but it really is such a bittersweet, wistful, tender, uncertain place. For both of us.
I remember this night twelve years ago. He was about twenty hours old and I wouldn’t let them put him in the hospital nursery. I just needed to hold him and smell him and look at him. His impossibly perfectly small fingernails. His big eyes, taking everything in. His little fingers, curled around mine while he slept on my chest. His frog legs and skinny backside and angel mouth. My mom said after he was born that she had a crush on him, that she’d close her eyes at night and see his little face.
Sometimes I have dreams where he’s a baby again. I can smell his breath, like cream cheese frosting, feel his weight on my chest. He’s as big as me, or nearly. Our hands are the same size and I wear his sweatshirts and shoes. I am nothing but happy to watch him grow up, but damn if I don’t sometimes miss the part of our lives where it was only the two of us, and I could spend an entire afternoon just looking at him, never needing anything else.