I am quickly carrying C into the Target bathroom (yes, he is three, he can walk but when he lets me carry him I do…I know the times I can carry him are dwindling), just as we made it past the door, my mind is taking in the scene in the bathroom. I am checking to see which stalls are open, how quiet should we be (is anyone else in the bathroom), which toilets are clean (hopefully one at least)…my mind was doing its “mama” thing when I hear…
“I love you, Mama.” in the sweetest, meaningful, little, familiar voice.
As those sweet first loving words easily blew into this moment when I least expected it, I stopped. I stopped my mind, my feet, my breath. I stopped, closed my eyes, hugged him closer and said “I love you too.”
These words from C were so unexpected, totally in the middle of weekly errands, in of all places a Target bathroom. I was totally fixed on picking up some new shampoo for the boys due to C deciding to pour the remaining third of the bottle of his shampoo all over the floor the other night during bath time. C is still a newbie in underwear, so we needed a bathroom stop before shopping.
This moment was so unexpected for more than just the setting. This was the first time C ever expressed his love for me in words before. He is very affectionate, sweet with his hugs, loves to snuggle after his nap and sometimes comes and lays still with me in the morning too. I know he feels love deeply and is comfortable feeling love back. He has always, up to this point, expressed love through gestures (hugs, kisses, snuggles, sweet sounds only he makes) so to hear him say “I love you, Mama.” out loud, unprovoked, exactly when he felt it enough to say it…well, what else can a moment like this do but make you stop and dig deeply into it.
As I quietly held C in the Target bathroom, steps from the stall we were about to go in, this flood of thoughts came rushing through me. They were all focused on “This is why…” This is why I get up at any hour of the night to fix blankets or give hugs after a scary dream, make food for him first even when I am hungry, why I can’t stop staring at him playing with that soft morning light glowing through his curls, why most of my thoughts in a day revolve around my kids…because I love them.
I would be lying if I said this love for them was there right when I first became a mother. There was my mama instincts that of course kicked in, my obligation that I felt towards their care. But, this love that I felt as I was holding C the other morning, it was a deeper, fuller, more encompassing love. It was one of the first times I have given myself permission to feel it.
It felt deep, joyous, strong, unwavering and uniquely ours. As I opened my eyes, smiling at the randomness of the surroundings where I discovered these sweet, new feelings. Life starting moving forward again.
Reality quickly returned as C’s pee didn’t all make it into the toilet. I had no extra shorts in my purse, just underwear. This is my life…proudly pushing my son through Target in just his shirt and underwear and sharing first “I love you’s” in the bathroom. My life is never dull or by the book (what ever book that might be) but I am happy that I know when a moment happens, I can stop, close my eyes and make it a significant one.
I would love to hear other stories of significant moments in random places, please share.