You run and you squeal, meeting life with destruction and glee.
When I scoop you in my arms I am often met with open handed pats and slaps to the face. Tiny fingers roughly explore my eyes and the inner contents of my nose. Your father and I have suffered nibble marks, broken teeth, fat lips, and reddened cheeks from your wild joy. During your bounding romp through these months of toddlerhood I find myself coaching you on a daily basis: "be gentle with Mama." I grab your hand and gently stroke my face, teaching you how to touch with care.
And like the cooing newborn phase, the wobbly crawler, and the proud stander, this bombastic slapper phase with pass too. I will find myself staring at a growing boy, hurling yourself down the street on your bike, teetering on tree limbs, choosing friends, exploring how to express your own opinion, grabbing our car keys, maneuvering through adolescent relationships, packing up boxes for college. Oh baby, then I will long for chubby dimpled fingers in my face and the echo of your happy calls will ring in my ears.
Sweet boy I will find myself whispering low,