I’ve got those growing pains again. The ones that wrap around my heart while you lay sleeping sweetly in your bed all half-boy, half-man and unaware. If only you knew the ache of a mother’s heart for you — the joy-giving, cliff-hanging moments of motherhood that catch me up and dare me to care this much. I think back to the birthing of you with the growing pains of welcoming you into this world. I had waited and you were not coming and they had to rush us into the emergency room to help you along. And when you came, I felt Niagra Falls in my heart and couldn’t hold back the outburst of “I love you.” All the nights of rocking back and forth one leg to the other — no aerobics class ever prepared me to rock like that. And you soothed in my arms after the hard work of helping you settle. Those frazzled dear early months of your life were long and short simultaneously.
Tonight I sit alone on the couch, writing my rememberences after having written you your last “tooth fairy” note. It will be the last time this tooth fairy ever sneaks in your room, lifts your pillow in that quiet way and puts a bit of cash and a silly note there for you to read excitedly in the morning. And I have some serious growing pains tonight. I think back to the first time the tooth fairy came to you and you were so exuberant, running down the hall the next morning, note in hand and money and treat in the other. You read the note to me with such sincerity and then somberly turned to me and asked me to give you back your teeth. How did you know! You were on to me and I had to confess without confessing so that you could keep your trust and we could keep our game. And ever since you have obliged us both with the reading of the note in the morning. It is our sweet secret — the identity of your own tooth fairy.
Who knows how many “lasts” I have missed while my eyes were blurry and my heart was elsewhere or we just assumed more were coming. I can look back and say, remember when, and it is no more. I don’t lament your growing into a more dynamic and mature and amazing boy. I love the privilege of having a front-row-seat in your life. But I miss you each time you outgrow a shoe or a habit or a quirk and I have to pause and say, “goodbye” to just a little piece of you. It is preparation. I’m in the letting-go bootcamp and I’m getting worked over in the process. A wise friend said, “It is the letting go that helps them want to come back.” I’ll get there. Thankfully I have years ahead to hone those skills. Tonight we say farewell to the tooth fairy. And they don’t call them growing pains for nothing.