Every now and again, I babysit for a couple friend of mine. I enjoy the energy, silliness, and inquisitiveness of their two children. Today, their little princess, Bear, had a play date. So, it was just me and Pickle.
Pickle is not quite two and a half years old and he is just talking up a storm. He also hit a little bit of a growth spurt, so he has gotten noticeably taller. I should also mention he looks like a little man and has such a sweet, serious face. He always seems to be observing and thinking. When I walked in today, Pickle was in the middle of eating his lunch. He jumped down from the kitchen chair and came running over to greet me with a flirty smile and a hug. So sweet!
I was only going to babysit for about two hours. The schedule was lunch, books, and bed for a nap. Pickle is usually a big eater, but today he seemed distracted. Instead, I listened to him talk and it was a happy, slow lunch. He started getting a tired look and I asked him if he was done eating. He said yes and with that I suggested that he pick out some books. Pickle ran off to his room and carefully picked out the books. He brought them out to show me. Such a big boy! We went back to his room and he scurried up into his bed. As we slouched together, I read the books and he helped turn the pages and read along with his favorite parts.
The last book was a bit wordy, but I think he just liked listening to the rhythm of me reading the passage aloud. Then he reached up with his tiny hand, ever so gently, and patted my hair. He looked at me with his deep, big eyes and said in his high, little boy voice, "Jamie, I love your hair." He seemed fascinated by the curly waves as he brushed away a few of the stray wisps that came free from the bobby pin holding back my bangs. I teared up a little, but they were soft, happy tears from the tenderness of the moment.
Someone told me there are other ways to experience motherhood. And within, I know that is true, as I have felt it with the children in my classroom or some of the children I have met through volunteering at the hospital. While motherhood is frequently defined as the state of being a mother, which references having a child. Motherhood can also be defined as the qualities or spirit of a mother. I'm just glad that I could experience the second definition of motherhood today and for it not to be something sad. So often these kinds of moments have felt bittersweet, leaving me wonder if it will always hurt. But today, there was no heavy sadness. Instead, I was able to embrace the moment.
Thank you, Pickle. I told my friends about it when they got home and they thought it was sweet.