Why do I carry my 5 year old?
I know I get crazy looks as I chug by with my sweet L’il boy wrapped around me, legs twisted around so tight. I don’t care. I really don’t. Stare all you like. I’ll tell you a little bit about my son so you’ll know that you’re witnessing one of few very special moments I get with my son.
My son has been behind his entire life. With every milestone. I bottle fed him longer and I tried to get him to eat solids much, much longer than most and I tried to help him crawl and walk a lot longer too. I tried to get him to sleep happily for months and months and months. I tried to get him to talk and still do. These days I try to get him to connect with me. When he does, I want to sit with him or hold him or lay with him and shut the rest of the world out. Heading into my daughter’s school is one of those times that always seem to be ours.
I’ve just picked him up from his school and we are alone for the 15 minute drive. We put the windows down and off we go. I ask the same questions. Did you have a good day? Are you tired? Do you want a drink? Are you hungry? He will nod for all of these or not seem to hear me at all. Once we park he climbs up into the front seat to sit on my lap and buckle us in. He LOVES seatbelts! We pull it too far as I say ah aaaa Ahhh then he lets it go as I say ACHOOO! It’s a complete exact repeat every school day. Then we get out and he usually hears a bird or plane and will motion his hand towards it. He’s very pleased if he can discover something to show me. We stop at the corner so he can make sure not to miss any cool trucks going by. His favourite will always be a lil school bus. Rare thing for us to see here. He giggles with me and clings to me and looks at me. He presses his cheek against mine and we look at each other suspiciously until we crack up. When we walk together and he requests a lift I can’t refuse him. Oneday he won’t want me to carry him. And what if that day he hasn’t snuggled with me? What if we don’t get any special Max and mommy time that day at all? He doesn’t talk so he can’t just have random conversations throughout the day. He gets immersed in anything he’s doing so I can’t always break into his world. It’s those few magic moments in our routine of the day that belong to us. I want to enjoy them and truly wish they could last forever. When I have him held tight to me I feel I can do anything. I am strong and he is protected except it’s me that is the one who is being protected. My little boy shields me and reminds me what to hold onto. He helps me let go of silly worries and uncertainty. He is so lovely and joyful. It may just look like he is being treated like a baby but this is not the case. It’s just a mom and her son trying to soak up any chance of connection there might be however it may look or appear to keep him from achieving independence. Don’t worry, he keeps growing and keeps learning and changing and getting older and more grown up. We walk as a family a lot and he puts in his share of miles all on his own. I’ve never met a more determined person than Max. I step aside when he wants to do something himself. I have seen him start using the big kids swing and now he has started riding a bike with training wheels. (I would never have thought it was time but his daddy knew better) It’s a beautiful thing to see your child thrive and try new things. It’s also obvious that these tiny little steps we take together will oneday end.
I carry my 5 year old. It gives me a guaranteed moment of cuddly closeness with my son. I know I’ll get him to look at me at least once eye to eye. I know I’ll get a smile. I know we will share an observation. I will hold onto this for as long as he will let me.