Two years ago, I offered you my very heart.
Two years later, I stand, poised to hand you my soul - a little boy called Luke.
Cherub-faced and devilishly charming, Luke begins Junior Kindergarten next week and despite the years I've had to prepare
Luke is my youngest son, my last baby and he fills a space in me I didn't even know was empty, until he was born. He is headstrong and given to wild temper tantrums, I should warn you. But if you can see past the bluster, you will find a sensitive and kind little person, striving hard to find his own place, out of his brother's shadow.
You will hear him, World, long before you see him, especially if he is displeased. But, once the storm passes, you will be a better place because there is a sweetness, a goodness in Luke that will transform you, if you let it. He has transformed me.
These years with him have been an enormous privilege: I have been granted so much time to discover and unwrap the gifts he brings to my life and to you, World. And I am grateful. But I am also...sad. For even as we talk excitedly about school, new friendships and coming adventures, I am grieving the loss of this boy, no longer only mine.
Too, I am grieving the loss of these years - gone so swiftly, I am utterly dazed - when a walk home from dropping Matthew at school could take hours, as Luke inspected every sidewalk crack and fallen leaf. I already miss quiet mornings when we had nowhere to be and so didn't bother to dress, but sat all day in pyjamas reading books and raiding the fridge for snacks. I ache for more time to snuggle before breakfast, before errands pull us out the door, before life beckons him - us all - further forward...and away.
Wasn't he just born?
Will he remember these moments that have made up our life together? Will he remember holding out his tiny hand and asking, "Mummy, will you dance with me?" and how we twirled around and around and around until we were both dizzy from it, but how neither one of us could bear to let go?
Will he remember how I scolded him so terribly when he ripped an entire strip of wallpaper off the wall because he didn't like the feel of it beneath his fingers, or will he remember instead that I fell apart laughing when he ate the wallpaper anyway, because he did like the way it felt on his tongue?
Will he know how much it meant to me that I was here for every single moment of his "formative" years and that I feel humbled and blessed and so lucky for it? How do I tell him, World, that without him, I would never have known the sweet pleasure of holding a child to my breast and growing him with my own body? How does one thank a child for the things that, at first glance, seemed like great sacrifices but turned out to be the most wondrous gifts?
I think - I hope - that in giving him into your care, World, that you will find a way to thank him for me. Thank him for showing me the person I could be, can be, am because he calls me "Mummy."
Give Luke great adventures, World. Let him run with abandon and fling himself into all that you offer with joy and glee and without fear. Let him discover the value of being loud and the joy of silence and let him know what it is to be sad, but not resigned, down but not beaten, kind, but not pushed.
When I cannot be there, please give him a soft place to land.
Mostly, World, I ask that you let him know love. All-encompassing, enormous, soul-stirring love. Luke has much love to give, World, if you'll let him. If you're patient and lucky and very, very still, Luke will tiptoe in and grace you with his smile or a gentle pat and you will be both lost and then found, in a single moment.
Trust me, World. With Luke in your keeping, you will never be the same.
You will be brighter.