Rhys turns 10 today.
I’ve been frequently lost in thought, yet not really able to come up with the right words to express how I feel about my eldest being this old and myself seemingly graduating to a new chapter of parenting.
He’s been around for a lot of years now. I’ve been a mom for a decade.
What sticks out the most as I’ve approached this day is that I keep thinking back to when he was a skinny squeaking week-old baby. I was sitting on our hand-me-down couches in our tiny rental on Maryland St., totally overwhelmed by what had just happened and what was unfolding in my life. That day, I found myself comforted by my mother-in-law who’s reassuring words turned my thoughts to the future and the reality that I was going to be a young mom. Not that I wasn’t already a young mom. At just 21 years of age I certainly wasn’t the youngest mother out there, but it was much sooner then we had planned and I was the first in a number of circles of friends to have a child. But she opened my eyes to see that even when our kids were a bit older, we’d still be young, and when they were independent, we’d still be young. The days and nights didn’t get easier from that point on, and I wish I had thought back on that conversation more often when I felt the isolation and loneliness that being a stay-at-home mom can bring, but it did stick with me and came to surface from time-to-time.
One of these times, which wasn’t very far off from the original conversation, was when I thought ahead to Rhys turning 10. You can’t imagine (especially if it’s your first child) your kid being that much older. You might have a murky distorted view of what they could possibly be like, or what you hope they could be like, but it’s not like thinking ahead to next winter and knowing it will be white and cold. It’s hard to picture your child 10 years down the road when they are just a helpless baby. It would have been nice to get an inside scoop from future Bria telling me that Rhys would be an awesome kid, full of creativity and intelligence and humour and heart (and that I’d have two more babies down the road!), it would have put my mind at ease. But that specific date, Rhys turning 10 and me being only 31, was a big question mark. I don’t know why it sat in the forefront of my mind for so long. It left a bit of an impression.
And now that Rhys has turned 10 and I am 31 and we are in the present of what was once just a distant far-off future, I can’t help but think back to the past. I can’t help but hover in that chocolatey-brown room above 21 year-old sleep deprived Bria holding little baby Rhys crying her eyes out, feeling a river of every emotion there ever was to feel all at the same time. I can’t help but want so badly to tell her that it’s okay and it will be okay and that she just needs to be kind to herself. No one has it figured out. No one. And while I’m hovering there, in that room, in that moment in the past, I try to steal a glimpse of my precious baby Rhys once more, wishing with every fibre of my mother-heart to once again have that little bundle in my arms. And in this moment, while I’m thinking back on that moment, I can almost feel 41 year old Bria hovering over me while I sit here balling my eyes out on this chocolately-brown couch, wanting so badly to whisper all the exact same things. It’s okay, it’ll be okay, you just need to be kind to yourself. No one has it figured out. No one. He’s growing up fast, but he’s such an awesome man, full of creativity and intelligence and humour and heart.
Just hold him and love him.