From the time Bean was born, he’s had a special connection with Chris. It’s a tight bond that the two of them share. Bean knows it. Chris knows it. I know it.
When he was a newborn, I was convinced that their bond was so strong because I hadn’t nursed Bean and so he attached to Chris. But as Bean gets older, I’m becoming more and more certain that the father/son bond would have been this strong between the two of them whether I was in the picture or not.
On most days, their relationship makes my heart sing. Seeing Chris not just as a dad, but as a dad who truly loves being a dad is a side of him that makes me fall even more in love with him every day. Bean is an extension of me and so by loving him so completely, he’s loving me, too. It’s a really private, special feeling I have when I see Chris and Bean playing and laughing and enjoying being together.
Truthfully though, sometimes I am envious of their relationship. Like when we’re at the beach and I spend 15 minutes putting sunscreen on Bean, another 10 minutes wrestling him into protective sun wear, another 15 minutes digging sand out of his hair, and then Chris gets to do the fun stuff like play in the water with him because by that point Bean is completely over me. Or like when we’re going outside to play in the backyard and I am so caught up in baby gates and pool alarms and running near the edge of the pool that Bean would rather spend his time with Chris who lets him throw baseballs and hit golf balls and chase the dogs with sticks.
But the longer I’m a mom, the more I understand the important balance of a mom and a dad. It can’t be all precautions and safety goggles all the time. Just like it can’t be all fun and games all the time. And while I’m glad that we seem to switch up our roles every now and then, for the most part I value that dynamic in our roles as parents.
But parental balance and bonds all go out the window when Bean is sick.
It’s not that Chris isn’t just as apt to cool a fever or calm an upset tummy. He’s Dr. Dad when Bean’s sick. But it’s Mom who gives the best cuddles, rubs little tummies, and kisses feverish cheeks.
It’s Mom who brings out the smiles and finds the fun in medicine droppers and cool washcloths on hot heads.
And while Chris is never far in these situations and his hugs and kisses soothe even the worst chest cold or tummy bug, I admit that I do love hearing my name called in the middle of the night when Bean is sick. And I do love those little arms around my neck when he’s hot with a fever or cool with the chills. Those times are my time. That’s when I’m the only one who can make it better.
And the feeling I get when I know just what to do to make him feel better, the feeling I get when that fever breaks and he laughs for the first time since he first became sick, the feeling I get when he finally feels better and he holds his hands up to me and says, “Momma, hug,”
Well, that’s the feeling of motherhood. And there’s nothing else in the world like it.