Merrick does not look like Caleb. Everyone pretty much agrees with that. Personally, I can’t see one little thing about my son that points to his father’s side of the family, except for maybe the gigantor dimples he’s got whether he’s smiling or not. But the full effect of how much Merrick takes after me didn’t hit until the other day; I had the boy out in the sun, slathered-up from head to toe in Water Babies SPF 50, and he started to break out into a hideous rash all over his precious pale-white face. Scared me to freakin’ death. I plopped him in the tub and poured water over his rolly-poly blotchy little body for what seemed like an hour. God bless his heart–he’s even got my very sensitive skin.
And it hit me: I’m dealing with the male version of myself. And yeah, I know everyone has laughed and said as much since the day he was born, but I never realized the gravity of the situation until that moment. I was suddenly awestruck, and afraid. His blue, blue eyes. His blond, blond hair, his tree trunk legs, and his uncanny ability to sunburn. Will he have my sense of humor? Will he have my lack of common sense? Will he be easy-going, and in that same breath, will he inherit my unpredictable temper? Will he sass me like no one has ever sassed a parent before? Will he impregnate the first girl he ever car-dates? Will he suffer from a case of the crazies if he drinks too much caffeine in the morning and beer at night and stays up late and sleeps too much without exercising very often?
I don’t know if this is the feeling Caleb gets when he thinks about his own mini-me, Mia. I wonder if his heart drops into his stomach everytime she does something to remind him of himself when he was little? It’s an inexplicably scary feeling. I’m suddenly feeling an overwhelming responsibility towards my own children. Ha! I know–weird, right?
I’m sensitive and probably over-protective when it comes to Merrick. In my mind, he doesn’t ever need to be punished, for anything–he’s just being who he is and he can’t help it! He’s sweet and he would never cause trouble on purpose. His ice-blue eyes are playful, not cold. Sure, he’s got rolls around his tummy, but he’s not fat! When he wants food, I’m going to feed him, damnit. When he’s sleepy, I’m going to rock him, and when he’s crying, I’m going to pick him up. And whenever he smiles, I smile–which is a lot. It bothers me when someone jokes "Hey, does your mom know you’re outside without your helmet?"
It took him less than a year for him to stand up and walk. These days he’s running, sometimes so fast that I can’t keep up. I am beginning to understand the special place mothers hold in their hearts for their sons. I worry about the world he will grow up in and I shudder to think of what it might be like by the time he is a man. That very word–"man"–makes me sad and afraid and proud, all at the same time. I imagine the people he will take care of and the responsibilities he’ll have when he’s older, and I hug him tighter and hold him a little longer. Overdramatic? Sure. But even by tomorrow, he’ll be a little less little boy. And if he’s anything like me, Caleb and I have a lot of work ahead of us.