I watch him run naked through the house before bath time. He gives no thought to his bare skin, no thought to his body. He simply exists, fully alive, in each moment. He is free.
He lays in a bath tub of bubbles. A novelty to have bubbles with no water. Just a few minutes ago, the last of the water escaped through the drain, much to his delight. I guess he was done with his bath. He wouldn’t let me wash him, insisting instead that he could do it. “Casey,” he says as he pushes my hand away and takes the wash cloth. Mr. Independent.
He let the water out himself, picking the drain cover up then putting it back down; letting a little water out and then a little more. He experimented with different ways to hold the flat, circular cover. First he held it by its edge. Then he tried to hold onto the shallow nob on the top, clutching it tightly between his thumb and pointer finger. Dexterity is improving. Watching him learn how to move and navigate his body, how to perfect and give purpose to each movement, each point of the finger, reminds me not to take my own momentum for granted.
Later, after daddy wrapped him in a big, fluffy beach towel, after he carried him into the other bathroom to make faces in the mirror and let Casey turn the light on and off, when they finally made their way back to his room, Casey squirmed out of his towel and off the bed, dodging our attempts to diaper him. He chose a book from his book shelf and then crawled up into his dad’s lap so that they could read the book together.
So eager to read with his dad, he wouldn’t even take the time to get dressed.
Like I said, he has no concern for his body, there are no attempts to conceal or hide or change any part of himself.
He is truly free and he is perfect.
Later in the night, maybe early this morning, I heard Casey calling for “dada” on the baby monitor. “He’s calling you,” I said to my sleeping husband. He seemed to wake up in a flash. “He is?” he asked. My heart melted at his excitement. “Yeah,” I said. “Go get him.”
I listened over the monitor as my husband went to our waking son. Listened as he talked to him and picked him up. Hoping…
But then I heard the inevitable wails for “mama.” My heart breaks a little every time my son fights his father’s embrace. Not for my son, who so vehemently cries out for my presence during the night time, but for my husband. I know that it is hard on him to want to soothe our son, to want to hold him in his arms and feel his tired body give over to sleep on his shoulder and to not be able to achieve this without a fight.
We choose our battles and nighttime is one that my husband and I have determined not to fight very hard. I don’t mind being the primary caregiver at night because it is so very easy for me to lay down next to our son, to curl my body around his small frame and soothe him back into sleep or to simply bring him back into our bed with us. We all sleep better this way.
Still, I can’t deny that one day soon we will have to fight the good fight, together, and let our sweet baby boy know that he can find comfort in other arms, away from the sweet scent of mother and milk. This day is fast approaching the older he gets and I know, I know, many people will say that we should have handled this problem a long time ago, but the truth is, I don’t mind getting up in the night (even though I grumble and curse and complain).
Time moves all to swiftly and I’m not ready for our sweet, sleepy snuggles to be over.