Search This Blog :

Monday, 2 May 2011

I Can Only Say These Things To You While You're Sleeping



My little boy, my precious baby.

You feel more like a "baby" to me now than you did when you really were one. I've thought and thought about why and the only thing I can come up with is that at first, although I loved you, I didn't know you. Not really. Does that make sense? I loved you immensely but with caution. With a heart that needed time to grow used to you, to attach properly. Maybe you needed this with me as well. Time. Grace? I often wonder if the reason you never would just sit with me, just lay in my arms, even when you were only a few months old was that you didn't know me either. You didn't know my voice. My scent. My arms. I often laughed at you in the first months after we got you because your tiny face had such a perplexed expression at times...hesitant and alert. Watching me so seriously from your little blanket on the floor, perhaps thinking "Who are you?"

At the convent in Colombo, the sisters told us you were very content, that you never cried. That the other babies lay crying in their beds all day and night but you never made a sound, just lay there silently. Not wanting to be picked up or entertained. When we would visit you each morning, you also just lay there in our hands, staring at us. Eyes huge and wary. Tiny hands clasped on your chest. You were tiny, just 9 pounds at three months old. We'd play with you, tickle you and you would start to laugh and then stop, jamming your fist in your mouth. Like you didn't dare. Like anything might happen if you shut you eyes and laughed with all your heart. Yes, I loved you then so much but with the slightest pain too. Like I didn't dare. Like anything might happen if I opened my heart fully and confidently to you and loved you with all my strength.

After all, what if I failed? What if it...hurt? What then?

I took so much joy in you always. From the first day. That you have to understand. My heart was full of you. I knew the first day I saw you that if anybody dared to say an unkind word about you or hurt you in any way, I'd want to kill them. No question about it. I looked at the soft downy hair growing on your head and I fiercely wanted to protect you.

So I loved you from the very beginning but after awhile the part of that love that felt dangerous to me, the part I was so afraid would have the power to tear me apart, that part I was so afraid to just...feel...because I was afraid of its strength, that part changed and became less cautious. I remember the first night I went to bed and lay there grinning in the darkness thinking about you like a teen-ager with a crush and I thought "Something has changed, now you are my baby." My little boy who I love so much but I can't bear to be one of those gushing mothers so instead I down play it down, roll my eyes, make wry remarks about you...detach, detach, detach...

And my heart aches because I see you growing into a real boy. A determined boy. A boy no longer afraid to laugh. Or cry for that matter. A noisy, lively, busy, mischievous, beautiful little boy. You still won't sit with me or cuddle with me or let me sooth you but sometimes lately you run into my bedroom and pat the bed while smiling eagerly at me, your way of telling me you want me to lie down with you and hold you and sing to you. You lie there quietly, alert, much like you used to lie in our arms in Colombo...like you aren't sure but you kind of like it.

Oh William. I just don't want to fail you. I love you so much I can barely stand to think that someday you won't be a baby, this chubby wild toddler that I can gather up squirming in my arms and whose little face I can cover with kisses. But I am not sentimental. I know you are not mine to keep. You are mine to love and cherish. Mine to instruct and teach and guide. Mine for awhile. But not mine to keep. To think that would be a grave mistake. It would be to do you a disservice.

You are God's. You are your own.

35 comments:

Mari said...

This is a beautiful letter - what a treasure!

Pia said...

You made me cry - again...

Life with Kaishon said...

Happy Birthday to your sweet William! I love your words : ) You are a poet. William is loved. Beautifully!

Marie Wilson said...

This touches my heart so much. You write so beautifully Colleen. You are such an amazing mother, and are so inspiring.
<3

Meg said...

Wonderful Colleen! I completely know how you feel! Such beautiful words to describe a very unique situation that not everyone gets the privilege to experience. Lovely letter, my friend!

Felisol said...

Beautiful.
Enjoy the baby days, but be aware; they will not disappear.
We are so many mothers who have experienced the same; our children remain our babies for the rest of our lives.
My grandmother Serina, mother of nine, and often tired and worried used to say, "When you were children, I was looking forward to the day you were all grown up and out of the nest. I now see, that the best and least worrisome days were when I had you all around me."

Nevertheless I say about my Serina; the only thing worse than she leaving home, would be if she wasn't able to leave home.

She shall create a life of her own, but she'll always be my baby.

Cheyenne said...

Amen. We are so blessed to be given these babes for awhile, aren't we?

You write so beautifully, Colleen, and this is such a special keepsake for your sweet boy. You are a wonderful Mom and your transparency is always an encouragement. Keep writing!

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

Beautiful :) He sounds intelligent as a baby- like he's a thinker. Not so much expressive. What a sweetheart. And you're an awesome Mother!

Brian Miller said...

i think with a heart like that you will overcome the failing...and there will be days you fail...but that does not diminish the love...great letter....

Deborah said...

I love Felisol's comment "the only thing worse about them leaving home is if they for some reason couldn't leave home." When I dropped my first son at college I cried and yet this was what i was working toward all these years. For him to grow into the wonderful young man that he is. And it seems like yesterday that I held him in my arms, wondering who he was, who he would become. Even at the age of 20 I still watch him and wonder because they never stop growing and changing. Hold tight to the precious moments you have now, time has a way of marching on right under our noses. This letter will be such an incredible thing to give him one day. Maybe on the day he goes off to college :)

Peggy said...

What a precious post! William is so blessed to have you as a mother.

The Elegant Bohemian said...

Colleen....my oldest babies are now in college and I'm having to force myself (and them to some degree) to let go a bit....just enough to grow into who they are supposed to be. I want to shove them back in the womb sometime and just keep them with me always and protect them from life's hurts. I know how you feel.....William is fortunate....and if he never totally gets how fortunate he is; it'll not lessen that fortune one bit. Love to you Colleen! ~Serene

Shell said...

So beautiful and touching!

Debbie said...

That really is so beautiful! You are both lucky to have each other and such love.

Joyful said...

Such love... I can feel it. Your son has such a beautiful, expressive face. You will train and guide him well. This beautiful gift you have been given :-)

Colleen said...

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful comments and words of wisdom! I appreciate them all and hope you all have a lovely day!

Zuzana said...

Oh Colleen, one day your boy will read this and it will bring tears to his eyes...
He has no idea today, but one day when he is a man he will know what an incredible mother you are and what a complete human being as well.
This was a wonderful tribute to life itself and to the unconditional love between a mother and her child, the purest love of them all...
On another note, thank you so much for your lovely mail and your sincere words full with kindness and empathy, which touched my heart.
xoxo

jane.healy said...

Beautifully written Colleen.

Judi said...

Oh Colleen, now my day will be bright...you put into words thoughts and feelings of so many parents...Yours is truly a blessed journey and William is growing into the boy you needed and deserve! I am so touched by your words today...Thanks

sacramento said...

Thank you Colleen. We are off to Berlin tomorrow.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Ratz said...

Colleen, this is such a beautiful letter. I can only imagine how much of emotions you have covered in it. I want to cry reading this and I don't even feel stupid if I do. I imagine myself telling all of this to my baby girl in some years and thank you for letting me know how all of it actually feels.

Susan Deborah said...

Wow, Colleen, need I say more? All the earlier commenters have very aptly described this post.

But I wish that he reads this sometime :)

Joy always,
Susan

Ine said...

This was just beautiful and heartbreaking! I have no words.

Haircutgirl said...

Colleen! This is wonderful. The last two lines took my breathe away. As sentiment as a piece of writing...wonderful.

Jo Bryant said...

This was breathtaking - you described so eloquently the feelings that inhabited you - most mothers would relate to this. Thank you for sharing it. William is beautiful...
:)

Crown of Beauty said...

Yes, our children aren't ours to keep. They are given to us for a time, that we as parents may be the agents of blessing in their lives. Our words to our children mean so much in the shaping of their identity and releasing them to their true destiny.

May God continue to impart to you the wisdom you need to bring up this precious child!

Love
Lidj

Just Be Real said...

Colleen very touching. Blessings.

Peggy said...

Happy Mother's Day, Colleen. It seems that you are a wonderful mother to your little one. Enjoy your special time with him this weekend.He is blessed and you are, too.

Mariannes blogg said...

Så utrolig vakkert!
Jeg elsker å lese her inne, smile og gråte!
Have a blessed Mother's Day!

sacramento said...

You are so lovely. Thank you so much Colleen.
XXXXXXXXXXXX

LESAPEA MUSINGS said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us all.

Lisa xx

laughwithusblog said...

They are only on loan aren't they? We can not hold on too tight. I've been thinking about this too.

Lori said...

William is so darn adorable even when he is being told no. What a journey you have had in becoming Williams mommy. Us mommy's work hard to love, care and train our children for life...these precious souls on loan to us from God are with us but for a short time.

I hate to say this but us mothers do fail our children at times because we are not perfect as much as we would like to be for our children...you are wise to cherish these moments and to know that he is just with you for a time...our job is to give them wings to fly and as hard as it is to see them fly from the nest it is a great blessing to see them living their own life.

William is blessed to have such a wonderful mommy. I hope you had a wonderful mothers day. Love and hugs. XX

♥ helen said...

When we become a parent of a child who already has a past we get something extra. I am sure you have given him what he needed most: lots of love. And I was happy to read he can cry again now.

Colleen said...

Helen, you are so very right and I really appreciate your understanding.