When he learns to read, he will read his father a book. When he learns to ride his bicycle for the first time, it will be his dad running alongside him. When he learns to work on an engine, or drive his first car, it will be his dad he brags to about the size of the engine. When good things happen to him, he’ll run to his dad. When he achieves great things, it will be Dad he calls.
Dads get all the glory. All the successes.
Last week, we worked on the new house for a while. We’re still working on drying-it-in. It’s taken much longer than we expected, but winter was cold and we like being warm. It will get done. Every little thing we get done is done.
While working late on Saturday evening, Colt and I started talking about letting Wyatt spend the night with one of his grandmas. You see, since Oct. 3, 2011, we haven’t spent even one night away from the little man. We like it that way. We enjoy spending time with him. We’re not the kind of 20-somethings that frequent bars or clubs; we’re the people that go out to dinner once a week and cook-in at home the other 6 nights. We’re home-bodies.
So when the grandmas ask if we would like a Friday alone, we always answer, “Why? We don’t do anything on Friday night that Wyatt can’t do too.” He goes out to dinner with us. We rent movies. We pop some corn and snuggle into the bed with our little guy while we watch the newest Ice Age movie.
But lately Colt has felt bad saying no. He kept telling me, “Some of my best childhood memories are of waking up at my Granny’s house on a Saturday morning. She would cook me pancakes and I always felt special. And she probably loved having a baby to cuddle with, after watching all of hers grow up and move away. We shouldn’t deprive our moms of that stuff. It’s not fair to them.”
So a few days ago, I dropped Wyatt off at his Granny’s house for a sleep-over.
I was a mess.
Just placing his diaper-bag on the counter made me cry.
I tried not to make saying goodbye a big deal; but it was a big deal to me. I have never been away from him that long. I’ve never had to try to fall asleep without checking on him first. I’ve never done my final walk-through-the-house at night without first making sure his blankie hasn’t fallen away from his chubby chin. Saying goodbye was a big deal.
To me. The mommy.
I backed onto the road to realize I had failed to pull his car-seat out of the back seat. They weren’t planning on going anywhere, but without his mommy, emergencies could happen, right?
I pulled back in and hopped out of the car to unlatch his car-seat.
Wyatt squealed, “Me me!” and began running across the yard toward me.
For a split second, I was happy he didn’t want me to leave him. I was glad this was going to be hard for him too.
He stopped 10 ft shy of me to climb onto the parked riding lawn mower.
He hadn’t even noticed I was leaving.
I unloaded the car-seat and got back into my car. And drove away.
I cried for a while on the way home. Via phone, Colt was sympathetic. He remembered dropping Wyatt off for the first time at his sister’s house when I went back to work. He told me he cried, even though he knew it was illogical; his sister loves Wyatt, she would give me the best care possible, but still Colt’s heart had been broken, having to hand his tiny little boy over to someone else and walk out the door. He understood my plight.
We went out to dinner. Then we went out for ice-cream. We rented two movies that Wyatt would never sit through. We only watched one of them. We went to sleep early. We slept in late. We made coffee around 8:30 and watched the second rented movie.
Half-way through Chasing Mavericks I announced that the second the movie ended, we were getting dressed and retrieving my baby. Colt agreed to that plan, although he pointed out that the word my was inappropriate and rude. “Wyatt is our baby. We share him. He is not just your’s.”
The second the credits began to roll, I leapt up and began changing clothes. While Colt was brushing his teeth, I was applying foundation with the speed and accuracy of a Nascar-pit-crew.
As I climbed into the car, Colt began loading up various musical instruments. I did a double-take. Were we spending the day at Aunt Norma’s? Had we planned a bon-fire I wasn’t aware of? Okay. Sounds good. We’ll build a fire, drink coffee, and play music with the family while I breath in the sweet smells of Baby Magic from the air around my son's hair in my face.
Then he turned towards Chattanooga, not the interstate. Wait. This isn’t the way to get Wyatt. Wha?!
“I wanted to drop these instruments off at Chatta-Music before we head over to Mom’s. These are all collecting dust and I have my eye on a blonde Epiphone,” he says to my openly-anxious-scowl.
I take it in stride. If he wants to get rid of his stash of stringed instruments to trade-up, that’s fine. Those are his things, things he cares about. He’s thought a lot about this, I’m sure.
The trip to the music store is quick. He puts all the instruments on consignment.
We finally hit the free-way.
30 minutes later, we finally pull up into Granny’s drive-way.
I hop out of the car and dash towards the house. Colt casually walks toward the house a few paces behind me. I slide open the screen door and see no Wyatt.
“He’s getting a diaper change,” says Aunt Norma.
I begin walking towards Granny’s bedroom.
“Wyatt?” I ask in my most i-love-you-more-than-stars-in-the-sky voice.
I hear him squeal and struggle to get away from the pesky diaper change. His feet hit the floor and the most glorious naked-feet-patters-on-hard-wood-sound begins to briskly get closer and closer to me.
He rounds the corner and smiles a huge grin just for me.
“Me me me!” he says. He throws his arms out as far as they will go.
I crouch down and open my arms wide to catch him, just as his eyes dart over my shoulder, his path quickly shifts, and he blows past me to leap into the arms of his father. The guy who came up with this fiasco to begin with.
When he learns to read, he will read Colt his first book. I will be the smiley mommy standing in the hallway listening to the pride in his voice.
When he learns to ride his bicycle for the first time, it will be Colt running alongside him. I will be the nervous mommy cringing from the porch steps.
When he learns to work on an engine, or drive his first car, it will be Colt he brags to about the size of the engine. I will be the mommy adding the vehicle to the insurance and worrying over the safety features.
When good things happen to him, he’ll run to Colt. When he achieves great things, it will be Colt he calls.
I’ll just be the mommy. And what do I get?
I get to be the first word he shouts when he gets injured. I’m the word he yells when he frustrated (“Ma!”). I’m the one that gets to hear his frustrations when a toy will not do what he wants it to. I get to wipe his tears when he cries and try to get his mind off of bumps and bruises.
It would be easy to let that bother me. I even admit that it did on Saturday. I might’ve cried a little after we got home. And felt sorry for myself a bit today.
I can’t even say that I’m out of the dumps quite yet. I still have a bit of a “woe is me” attitude, I admit.
But being a parent is never easy. On either side, for that matter. I’m sure Colt feels horrible having to leave Wyatt in tears each morning to go to work. That can’t be easy when the little guy is standing at the front door, hitting it with his fists screaming, “Daaaa-ee! Nooo!”
But I hope one day Wyatt realizes that it’s not always easy to be “just the mommy” in this Gibson-family-sandwich that is my life. I hope he’ll one day appreciate that I keep his sippy cup full during the day, trade him reeses cups for kisses, and always remember to get him his favorite blankie at bedtime.