It was bound to happen sooner or later; and, frankly, I would have prefered later.
Since I became a mom everyone I've talked to has brought up the fact that kids grow up quickly. To enjoy the moments.
And, as annoying as that advice can be sometimes, I've tried to listen. To hold my memories close and my kids closer.
But when the moment my baby stopped being my baby and became my little boy happened, I was still taken completely by surprise.
And so was my heart.
Before he was even born we were given a lamp. Hand painted by my mother for his "nursery" (which was actually one side of our room in the one bedroom apartment we could barely afford).
The lamp is in the shape of a Cocker Spaniel and painted to look like Lady from "Lady and the Tramp," one of my mother's favorite Disney movies.
I placed it on his dresser, screwed in a low watt light bulb, and have since used it as a night light for every room he's had.
It has gotten us through many sleepless (and sometimes scary) nights, illnesses, and monsters in the closet. And since the day he could talk, Tyler has referred to this lamp as the "Dog-dog" lamp.
Which, of course, means so has everyone else who's ever tucked him into bed at night.
That's just what happens over time when you have kids; they refer to a specific object using a certain word (or sound) and forevermore so will you (in my house that sound is now vroom-vroom. I haven't used the words "car", "truck", or "van" in about a year).
So when my beautiful, mostly independent, brown eyed baby boy looked at me after his bed time story and corrected my name for said lamp, my heart squeezed so tight I didn't think I'd leave that room alive.
I had just finished some story about super heroes. You know, the ones that are for Step 1 readers and make absolutely no sense to the adults who are forced to read them, but always manage to get a giggle when you use character voices? He's really into them right now.
I closed the book, kissed his forehead, and told him to turn on his Dog-dog light (he's scared of the dark and can't sleep without it on), when he turns to me ever so slightly...
...and says, "Mom. It's just a lamp. Call it a lamp."
How can a simple phrase, said so matter-of-factly break your heart so much?
And he said it with such ease too. Like he had no idea it would be so life altering for me (which I know he didn't, but since I'm a card carrying member of the drama queen society I'm taking it personally).
In that moment I instantly flashed to a chubby little 2 year old, barely able to
talk yet so excited that I was letting him turn on the dog-dog lamp for
And that's when I realized my baby was no longer my baby (even though he always will be), he was now my little boy.
My sweet, sensitive, and attitude filled little boy.
So I finished tucking him in.