Contributed by: Mary Kay
To my Baby Burrito,
I had to take you to the doctor’s office today. You had a pretty bad diaper rash. Quite the mundane ailment, I must admit. But nothing about our visit felt mundane today…
You had on my *new* favorite shirt of yours. It is bright orange with a tiny dinosaur in the bottom corner and “ROAR!” written really big right in the center of your chest. I think it is my favorite shirt because it reminds me of you. My baby burrito. Such a sweet, little man with such a big, gigantic, energetic spirit – just like that tiny, little dinosaur on your shirt. Your pants were a little bit too long for your short little legs so every once in awhile, you would slide on your right pant leg. (And yes, my heart would skip a tiny beat every time it happened.) You are kind-of in between sizes at the moment so finding the right pant length is difficult. Your blonde hair was ‘styled’ so perfectly in your messy, half-curled, baby-mullet. I fought every urge to follow right behind you, lick my hand, and try to tame the wild hair-beast.
As we were waiting for your name to be called, I couldn’t help but watch you pull yourself up and start pattering your little feet in the opposite direction of myself. And every once in awhile, you would pause, look back over your shoulder, and smile at me. The smile with three, little, nubby teeth that to me, are just perfect. At that moment, I grabbed my phone to take a picture. And yes, I take candids of you quite often, but this one felt different to me. We were the only people in the big, empty waiting room and it just felt intimate. Like the moment was meant for me and you. Mommy and Benny. Just us. I needed a picture to remember this specific moment. And the significance of this moment is very clear to me.
You continued to circle around the waiting room, waddling the way you do, making obscure vocalizations that indicate only pure happiness. No words. No gestures. Just squeeling and giggles. The most beautiful sound in the world. A few times, your adorable, little bobble-head would get too far ahead of your still-growing body, as if your feet just could not get enough speed. You would stumble, look back at me, and giggle – as if it was some amusement park ride – not a trip and fall. I would hold out my hand and ask if you needed help to get up. And I would pray you would take my hand. Because it already feels like you don’t need me as much as you used to. And it is both prideful and distressing to know that you are already doing so much without me.
It is quite the conundrum. All I want for you, my baby burrito, is to grow up fast and grow up slow. I want to soak in every moment as it comes but I cannot wait to see what you do or say next. I want you to stand up on your own. I want you to take my hand…
That waiting room was almost like a black hole for me. A moment that, for some reason that I can’t exactly pinpoint, will be ingrained in my brain for the rest of my life. It was the first time you ever walked away from me. With your own agenda. Your own plan. And I was merely a bystander. Something, I fear, I will have to get used to.
This will, by no means, be the last time you ever walk away from me. In fact, this will happen quite frequently. Dropping you off at practices. Letting you go outside to play. Getting on the school bus. You will walk away from me quite often, I know. And there will be times when you fall. And I will hold out my hand and ask if you need help. And I will pray you take it…
And when the day comes that you don’t take it, I will settle for that over-the-shoulder look, with the more-than-3-teeth, not-so-nubby-toothed smile… And maybe a little wave to let me know you’re okay.
Mary Kay is a 30-year-old mother and wife living in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She is a practicing school psychologist and enjoys working with children. At home, Mary Kay enjoys spending time with her family, crafts, karaoke, reading, and the occasional workout.