"I saw two airplanes."

For the past few weeks, I've been feeling a little unloved by the shorter man in my life.  It's a ridiculous thing to have hurt feelings about, but he'll hug and kiss his dad, his teachers, almost anyone who asks, really--except me.  I get a thoughtful head tilt and a nonchalant, "No."

It's a normal toddler phase (or so my BabyCenter developmental update e-mails tell me).  And when I'm being rational, I'm glad he has other people.  I love watching him play with his dada.  I love that he has a community and family of people who care about him outside of us.  I don't want to be the only person he'll stay with.  I don't want to be one of those mothers whose child cries every time she leaves the room.  Frankly, that's always seemed like it would be debilitatingly exhausting.

Unfortunately though, one of the side-effects of not being the be-all-end-all center of the universe is that I'm not the be-all-end-all center of the universe.  Go figure, right?

But then there are those moments when I am.  When his face lights up when he notices I'm there to pick him up from school.  When we're driving and I hit repeat on "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog" for the fourth time.  And when we're rocking to sleep at night.

I don't always put him to sleep.  Sweet Husband and I take turns.  But it's one of those things that I'll do until he's twenty-five in the unlikely event that he'll still let me.

Sometimes we sing, but lately he wants to talk.  The other night he was babbling with his head on my chest when he suddenly sat up, put his hands on my shoulders, and--as if he was telling me the greatest news in the whole world--said, "I saw two airplanes."

Mamas of toddlers will understand--A whole sentence!  All in the correct tense!  Proper use of a number!--but it was more the tone that made tears prickle up in the corners of my eyes.  It was clearly the best thing that had happened to him that day, and I got to be the person he shared it with.

I cannot tell a lie, I still want my hugs and kisses.  But, at least as long as this no-kissing-mommy phase lasts, these little conversations will substitute nicely.

[The winners of the CurlyMae giveaway are Kristi and Tara.  I will be in touch shortly for your contact info!]