It’s Jasper birthday today. He’s three. Don’t tell him that, though.
Me, this morning: “Is it your birthday today, Jasper? Happy birthday!”
Jasper: “No, Mommy, not my birthday. YOUR birthday.” He’s close: my birthday is just a couple of days away. Still, you’d think that the child would be kinda pleased about having a birthday. Birthdays are awesome when you’re a kid. Less so once you’re a grown-up, but still.
Me: “No, baby. It’s YOUR birthday. You’re three! Happy birthday!”
Jasper: “NO, Mommy, I NOT. IS NOT MY BIRTHDAY.”
I’m fine with it if he wants to deny his birthday. I want to deny his birthday. I would be perfectly happy if he stayed 35 and a half months old indefinitely. I’m still in love with his babyhood, with his fat-thighed, round-bottomed, chubby-cheeked toddlerness, with his adorable littleness, with his ineffable small. I’m not ready to say goodbye to the Jasper who is my baby, even though, yes, I know that he will in all the important respects always be my baby, because I am still clinging to him as my actual baby, my neck-clinging, Mommy-needing, tucked-against-my-chest-always-always baby.
This has much to do with the fact that we will not have more babies – there’s a whole other set of thoughts to unpack – and I know that it is selfish and I know that I should just celebrate the journey that is his life and rejoice at the him who he is at every moment, the past Jaspers and the now Jaspers and the future Jaspers, but still, but still.
I want to hold him here, and keep him. Just like this, just like now.
As long as I possibly can. Until I no longer can. Which might be now, which probably is now, because it’s every moment, because with every moment I lose something of the old Jasper, and even though the new is wonderful, is amazing, still, still, I mourn and cling to the old.
Is that so wrong?