“Today, Ben asked me to hold him.
My hands were full, and it was 98 degrees outside. In fact, it was already so dang miserable by 11 a.m., he had taken his shirt off in the car.
He was still sticky from sweat.
Like he’s done since he was a baby, he reached out his skinny little arms as he made this request.
As if I’d ever say no.
I am not going to lie, right now my back hurts. I’ve been sharing a bed with my toddler this week. We are visiting family, and she doesn’t sleep well when we travel. So, on top of being sore, I am exhausted.
Right now, my son is five years old and somewhere around forty pounds. It isn’t an easy thing, hauling him from place to place.
But today, my little boy asked me to carry him inside.
And, of course, I did.
I know the world might think he’s too big, or I’m babying him. But he’s my son, and I’m his mama.
And dammit, I have my reasons.
You see, I wonder, every time his still-tiny voice asks me for something, ‘Will this be the last time?’
The last time I carry him inside from the car.
The last time he offers a kiss at bedtime.
The last time he asks for just one more book.
Of course, I know my boy is ‘big.’ His knobby knees and thinning cheeks remind me of that fact every, single day.
I know those judging gazes might find us in the occasional grocery store parking lot, as his head rests on my shoulder and his legs dangle well below my waist.
But you know what?
I also know this little human won’t be so generous with his affection in the next few years. He won’t ask to be held, snuggled, or hugged. At some point, he will eventually balk at all those things, and I will be so dang sad about it.
So, excuse me for not caring what the whole world thinks. For not caring when the Judgy McJudgersons whisper, ‘That boy is too big to be carried around.’
I’m a mama, first and foremost, and my heart already breaks over how quickly my babies are growing.
So, if my child asks me to carry him—today, tomorrow, or the next day—my answer will always be the same:
I will empty my hands and deal with the heat. I will throw out my back if that’s what it takes. I will carry that long, dangly boy all over the world until the day he stops asking me to.
Because that day is coming, all too soon.
And then I will be grateful for every day I said, ‘Yes.'”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mary Katherine Backstrom. Mary’s book Mom Babble: The Messy Truth about Motherhood is available here. Follow Mary on Instagram here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.
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