My baby lost a tooth today, for the first time. My little Bean. My little boy.
I wasn’t fully prepared for this. I don’t think you can ever really be fully prepared for this kind of love, and the requirements therein. Inherent in having and raising a child is the knowledge that, at one point, they will leave you and that your job as a parent, really, is preparing them for that point. Your job includes letting them go, letting them grow, a little bit at a time; it’s a little known fact that, as a parent, your heart tends to break a little bit every day, both with pride and heartache.
They’re all bittersweet and tender, these pangs I’m feeling today, that I felt when his tooth first started to wiggle around in his mouth.
I remember when he was teething, all drooly, toothless grin, with those little baby chub-chub legs and arms, sitting in the middle of the living room floor, surrounded by his toys and board books, babbling nonstop in that goofball baby language.
Nowadays, he’s all spread out, laying on his bedroom floor on his belly, putting tiny Legos together in clever configurations and elaborate designs, all jangly knees, sharp elbows, and soulful eyes. Tearing the knee in his jeans as soon as he gets them. Enjoying secrets with classmates. Laughing at fart jokes, but still holding my hand when we walk from the car to school. To anywhere, still holding my hand, my Bean. My little boy.
I take a deep, deep breath, tears in my eyes, and hope beyond hope that I can survive this whole parenting thing with my heart intact.