From the beginning of when I understood what being a mom meant. A couple of health scares and relationship ups and downs later, and we were pregnant.
I loved every part of pregnancy. Well, except these darn stretch marks. Grrrrr...
I didn’t have heart burn or any crazy cravings. No Braxton Hicks. No major issues at all.
Hot flashes, well yes, those still haunt me almost 14 years later! Aye aye aye... Bladder issues because my son sat so low it was immediately recognized by the first little ultra sound technician? Yep, I literally pee all the time. (Sorry dudes who may be reading this, but it happens to us moms.)
I loved the maternity clothes, which by the way were not nearly as cute as today’s maternity styles! I loved his moves that began as tiny tickles in my belly. I loved and cherished every minute of pregnancy.
And then I blinked and those nine months flew by and my beautiful, perfect, 6-pound baby boy was placed in my arms.
We spent that first summer together, laying in the floor all hours of the day, screaming and crying (both of us, lol) through that first bath, fighting the exhaustion, cherishing the snuggles, the rocking and the singing. I held him on my chest and napped with him, both of us so warm against each other. Safe.
We both cried through shots at the doctor’s office and I thought I was going to lose my mind when we would go somewhere, him screaming until he threw up in his car seat.
And then I blinked and he was walking and talking, of course saying “Dada” first. Little turd. Just kidding.
He would try to cuss like his father, saying “bam it,” if he dropped something. Good times.
He would grab his play tools and try to be just like his dad, saying “gotta go to ‘erk (he couldn’t say work correctly), momma,” as he’s leave the living room only to return seconds later saying, “back, momma.” He would perform this extravagant fake cry that was so stinkin’ cute I couldn’t not give in! Yeah, I’m a sucker for my boy and always have been.
He had his first “girlfriend” in those toddler years and since he couldn’t pronounce her name right, we’d ask who his girlfriend was and all we’d get was “Ass”. Her name was Addison, lol. He fought with his best friend Katie at all of his brother’s and her brothers’ baseball games. He even conked her in the head with a rock one time and blood cane rushing down her skull. Scared the crap out of me and her mom, Erica. No permanent damage was done, well physical damage anyway. Pretty sure Katie doesn’t trust Conner around rocks still to this day.
And then I blinked and he was attending daycare and then head start, learning so much every single day. He is so smart it’s crazy. This is the time when his anxiety really began, hard and strong.
He would get all excited to see me enter the doorway to get him at the end of the day, running to me with his arms open wide, smiling this smile that lights up the sun. He would show me something he had created that day, jabbering a mile a minute the whole drive home. He loved Halloween, Christmas, and Lightning McQueen. We wore out two discs of the movie Cars. He began his collection of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, many of which he still has to this day. Stuffed under his bed. Hidden away from his “teenage-ness”, but not hidden from his memories of playing Cars in the floor with his dad.
And then I blinked and he was in elementary school, struggling with anxiety every single grade, but learning and changing and growing so much each year.
I think I’m the only mom who cries every LAST day of school each year. It means he is no longer that kindergartener, that third grader, that fifth grader. Elementary school was the end of his childhood. He lost his best friend, his hero, his dad during his fifth grade year. His anxiety increased. He missed lots of school that year, and has in all the years since. But we survived fifth grade, with the help of YouTube, his amazing teachers, and his amazing principal and counselor. He made it.
And then I blinked and he was in junior high and the anxiety worsened. His fear of losing me in the same shocking and terrible way as he lost his dad settled into his every thought.
Seventh grade proved to be terrible. Like, the absolute worst year of his schooling thus far. I served as principal and flourished, all the while my little boy was crumbling every single day. I don’t want to relive the details as they make my stomach churn with every one. So we changed our lives. We came home. And I watched this boy stop throwing up every day. I watched him stop crying every day. I watched him grow, inches at a time. I heard his voice deepen. I began to buy men’s jeans, as the boys’ sizes no longer fit. I watched him struggle with things he should have a father here to help him with.
And then I blinked.
He will start his freshman year of high school in August. He will be fourteen years old next month.
I have watched this boy do so much over these past fourteen years. I have watched him do the most in the past three.
He has learned to control his anger, his fears and his anxiety. That takes courage and strength.
He has taught himself how to take apart and rebuild guns because he knew he must learn things on his own. That takes courage and strength.
He has watched his mom fall apart more times than he can count and he has picked me up every single time. That takes courage and strength.
He has laughed and smiled through his pain and fears. That takes courage and strength.
He has gone on adventures, just him and his mom, to places they’d have never gone before. That takes courage and strength.
He has talked to a concrete stone way too many times for what a young boy should. That takes courage and strength.
He has thought about his future and all the huge milestones, and even the tiny moments, that his dad will miss and has missed already, but he has kept pushing forward anyway. That takes courage and strength.
He has grown his faith in God and has prayed countless prayers, never questioning where God is leading us next. That takes courage and strength.
He has worked his first job, came home filthy and tired but proud of earning his first paycheck working a job his dad would approve of. That takes courage and strength.
He has welcomed a new man into our lives with excitement and hope in his heart for the first time in a very long time. That takes courage and strength.
My greatest accomplishment, my most cherished gift, is being Conner’s mom. I will love this boy until the end of time and then even longer. Growing up without a dad is not easy. Conner is doing it. I wish I could fix it all, just like every momma does. But all I can do is pray and hold him when he needs held, and give him space to fall when he needs to fall.
I love you more than words, to pieces, always and forever, to the moon and back, and more than any mom has ever loved her son before (please don’t take offense all you mommas who are saying “nope, not true”; it’s jsut our list of things we have said over the years).
Grow my boy, keep growing and learning. Keep leaning on God and your momma. We will neither one ever let you down.
Thanks for loving me through all this pain and now through all this healing and through our new beginnings. I couldn’t ask for a better “ride or die”.
He may not be a man yet, but this boy of mine sure is well on his way. And all I did was blink.