Tonight, at about a half hour before bedtime, Liam was snuggling in my lap in the Living Room while Brian was watching baseball. As usual, Liam was chattering incessantly about something or other…which he does ALL. THE. TIME.
Half flippantly I laughed and said “Liam, I like it when you’re quiet!” Without missing a beat, he turned to grin at me and said “Mama, I like it when you laugh REAL LOUD!”
Surprised, I responded “Well, I like it when you eat your vegetables.” He returned with “I like it when we eat PIZZA.” Brian interjected, “Well, I like it when we eat COOKIES!”
And so it continued. The three of us, taking turns (sort of) and rattling off lists of pleasures, compliments, fun of all sorts…things about each other, to do ourselves, to do together. No rhyme or reason; not premeditated or intended to elicit a particular result. Just one after the other, each dutifully repeating “I like it when…” in preface to our delightful revelation. Laughter bubbled throughout the room, cushioning us in our own little familial cocoon of togetherness.
As parents, Brian and I marveled at this little person who with rapid fire precision was regaling us with a staccato stream of “favorites” – finally, we just stopped talking and let him go on. Eyes twinkling, brimming with giggles, he clearly wanted to share his love of life and his growing ability to express it. WHEN did he acquire this vocabulary? WHEN did he master sentence structure? WHEN did he grasp the nuances of conversation, recognition and response? We kept stealing glances of surprise back and forth – eyebrows raised in “will you LISTEN to this kid?? Holy COW!” expressions.
Not wanting to lose the magic, I’m trying to remember some of the best ones Liam came out with…but they’re already escaping me. The feeling won’t slip away, though. It was one of those “my baby is growing up” milestone moments that sears itself in a Mama’s mind. I’m more than a little bit pleased with the Bug and his progress…but I’m equally sad that his strides in effective communication will be the very things that move him away from me as he reaches out into the world.
Ah, hell. I’d better get used to the bittersweet, and the laughter through tears. It’s the bedrock of the parenting gig, or so I hear!
But for now, I’m enjoying the remembrance of Liam Gems like these:
I like it when we snuggle.
I like Chloe and Lucy. (Our dog and cat.)
I like lemons.
I like it when we read new books.
I like it when you tickle me.
I like it when we fly in an airplane to Texas to see Aunt Megan.
I like ice cream.
I like it when we go to the Zoo and ride the train!
I like tubbies! (tubbies = baths)
I like it when we make pancakes, with vanilla and baking powder! (Seriously. He knows the recipe.)
I like it when Grannie Vee is on the phone.
I like it when we play with Jamie and Jeena and Aunt Eva and Uncle George on the farm! I like the ducks!
I like Little Bear.
I like our family.
I like it when we sing songs.
I like Maggie. She’s my girl. (Brian’s jaw dropped on that one…)
I like it when we go to the beach!
I like it when we eat in a restaurant-house!
I like it when it snows ALOT! (He hasn’t seen snow yet. We’ll see.)
There were SO many more…some silly and punctuated with giggles, some thoughtful…all spontaneous. We kept at it for at least a half hour, all told – continued while brushing teeth and he wanted more “I like its” during our goodnight snuggle instead of books. (That in itself was a shocker!)
We said our prayers, and before lights out I gave him a big squeeze and told him that God made it possible for us to have all of those things that we like, and we should always remember to thank Him.
Liam smiled and said “I like God.”
Us too, buddy…us too…