Did you know--I have honestly never been loved before the way that you love me. That’s not to say I’ve never been loved or even loved deeply before, I have. There were a few that came before you; you know that. Poems have been written—you might not have known about those, but I guess you do now. Poems that made my heart leap and my spirits soar. Poems that were opened and refolded so many times the creases began to threaten . . . okay, I’ll stop going on about the poetry, maybe that’s not fair, I know you can’t write.
In spite of the poetry--in spite of the paintings that have been produced (some of me, some for me) . . . I still can say I have never been loved like this before.
Declarations have been made; photos have been slipped into small places for secret glances during absences. Promises have been whispered, countless late night and early morning snuggle sessions took place before I ever even met you.
Yes, there were boys before you: three of them . . . and that one girl. They loved me intensely, surely, but not a single one of them wrapped themselves around me and shrieked when I tried to drop them off at preschool, day after day and week after week. None of this sobbing, “BUT I LOVE MAMA BEST” while Daddy peeled you off of me so I could get to a meeting.
Daddy, he loves me. Your siblings, they love me. I have the poems and paintings and declarations and memories to prove it. But only you put on a spectacular show whenever I part ways with you (and keep it going for exactly how long it takes for you to be unable to see me anymore: 5-10 seconds, max. I’ve timed it.)
Why do you do this? Why now, when you’ve already successfully gone to preschool and also love your Daddy so much? You can’t explain it. Neither can I. But one day, hopefully soon, you’ll stop doing this and leaving you with someone else will become easier. One day you’ll be ten and we’ll laugh about it together. One day you’ll be fifteen and maybe disinterested in spending time with me and I’ll tease you about these earlier times or, who knows, maybe I’ll even miss them. One day you’ll be grown and your deepest love will no longer be reserved for me.
But right now, my baby, you are four, you are my fifth and you love me fiercest.
In that way, you’ll always be my first.