Eliot and I went to our town's 4th of July parade today. I wasn't sure how he would react to the firetruck sirens, the crowds of people, the candy flying through the air, and so on, but he seemed to enjoy the spectacle.
Here he is taking the task of flag waving very seriously:
I was amazed at how many people threw candy at us. We were there with a friend and her 4-month-old son, and I kept wanting to say, "Seriously, you think these two babies are going to start chewing on Tootsie Rolls and Jawbreakers anytime soon? Really? Quit throwing candy at my baby!" But I did pocket some of the good peppermints and popped a few Jolly Ranchers. You know, because they were just lying on the ground there.
Eliot was so good all afternoon. After the parade, we strolled through the park looking at the sidewalk chalk art, listening to a band play, and just meandering. I shared a few bites of my strawberry ice cream (since it's a holiday and all), and my little boy fell asleep in the stroller on the way home, all tuckered out from a big day!
I love carrying Eliot in from the stroller or car when he's fallen asleep. (It reminds me of all the times I would fall asleep during car rides as a kid, and I'd always pretend not to wake up when we pulled into our driveway, knowing that my dad would carry me inside. I liked how his big arms wrapped around me made me feel small and safe, even when I was really too old to be carried.)
I love the warm weight of my son's little body against me, his legs dangling ever longer. I love kissing his head and lowering him gently down into his crib. I love sneaking out of his room and pulling his door closed, but never all the way, leaving it open just a crack so that I'll be sure to hear him when he wakes.
Early this evening, after his nap, my dad and stepmom picked Eliot up and took him back home with them, where they'll later drop him off at my in-laws' for the rest of the weekend. He's staying with Grandma & Grandpa while Eli and I run off together for a "romantic" getaway. But sitting here now, looking at that picture of him clutching his little American flag, I already miss him so much. I want to smooth those furrowed eyebrows and kiss those little cheeks.
I know I'll wake up a hundred and one times tonight, thinking that I hear him stirring. But if I go into his room, his crib will be empty, with its fresh new sheets waiting for him to return. My arms will be anxiously waiting for him to return as well, biding their time until they can encircle him again, lift the little weight of him again, and hug him back to me.