There are things I hope he'll remember, that I need him to remember: the bedtime stories, the kisses and hugs, the way I know how to make him laugh, getting up in the night for feedings and snuggling, taking him to story hour and swimming lessons. And then there are the things he'll probably never know about until he has his own child, and maybe not even then. He won't remember me standing at the sink after he's finally fallen asleep, washing out his bottles and bowls instead of watching television. He's not going to look back fondly on all the times I swept the floor before putting him down to play on it, or all the umpteen tiny shirts and pairs of jeans I folded in the dusty basement laundry room. He'll never make me a Mother's Day card in remembrance of the literal hours I spent tethered to the breastpump.
He might never understand the feeling of finally settling down in bed only to hear the bleating cries of your baby on the other side of the wall, waking for the third or fifth time in one night, and how you know in a past life you would've lost your shit at that moment, but in this one, you drag yourself out of bed, maybe a little teary eyed but dredging up some last scraps of patience you didn't realize you possessed. Or how hard it is to stay calm when your kid is screaming in your ear and yanking his limbs out of his clothes as quickly as you get them in, flinging his shirt one way and fishflopping his head the other. The nights when he's overtired and nursing him is like withstanding a beating, pummeled by tiny fists and feet, clawed by ever-sharp little fingernails.
I hope he someday realizes that you can think your heart is full and then your baby smiles and you realize you were wrong. I hope he sees the way the tiny transcendent moments pile up in the balance, outweighing the times when you aren't quick enough to prevent the fall, aren't patient enough, find yourself wishing you had just a minute alone, just a minute. That moment, the one you can't quite neatly define, when you watch your partner watching your child and you think This is a family. The ebb and flow of his need for you and his growing independence. How the soft curl of his small body against yours in the dark feels like a blessing. How you never realized how much you needed him until you saw how much he needed you. He may never remember, but I'll never forget.