I am the mother of two boys.
I never thought I would say that.
When I found out that Liam was a boy (at around 20 weeks pregnant), I felt excited, surprised and nervous.
I already have a boy. Caleb will be fifteen (really? REALLY???) in July. We have gone through a lot together and I almost feel like I grew up right along with him. As a mom at 21, I had a lot to learn and he taught me well. I sometimes worry about all the mistakes I made. When he found out about Liam he said, “You get a second chance.”
He and I both knew exactly what he meant.
Before Liam was born, I couldn’t imagine loving another son as much as Caleb. There is something so unique about him. I know every mother says that about her child, but everywhere we went, folks said, “who is that kid?” I was known around Austin as “that cool kid Caleb’s mom.”
I remember vividly the first minute I met him, tiny fist stuffed in his mouth.
I can still feel his the weight and trust of his body in my arms, the smell of his newborn head and milky breath.
I can hear his sweet toddler voice and the funny and wise things he said. As a young boy, his clarity and connection to his own emotions was startling. He saw right through any bull and spoke up. He used vocabulary words that would put a college student to shame. He expressed himself minute by minute with such focus.
And now as a teenager, he is startling in his sense of self. I have no idea what the future holds for him, but have always trusted that he would make a difference in the world.
And now there is Liam. We are just getting to know each other but already he reminds me so much of his bigger brother (the loud wail, the direct eye contact so early, the “I know what I want and I want it now” voice) and yet he is uniquely himself with aspects I can not yet imagine.
And these two boys have yet to meet.
Caleb is in Texas with his Dad and Step-Mom, He is struggling through the usual challenges of maturing. Sometimes when I talk to him, I remind myself what it felt like to be a freshman in High School. I hated everything and almost everyone. That he will even speak to me regularly is in itself a miracle.
He will be here in June for his summer visit.
I have this sense that my heart will split wide open when I see these two boys side by side. How could I have created so much beauty?
"Making the decision to have a child -- it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." --Elizabeth Stone
One piece of my heart I can keep close to protect and nurture, at least for a few more years. The other is about to get his driver’s license. My experience of being a mother right now is both bewildering and tender.