When I picture the day Carter was born I see him in my arms for the first time. A cartoon x-ray reaches across my heart and shows as it rapidly grows to three times its size. Maybe I’m way too into Dr. Seuss and have watched The Grinch far too many times, but it is an accurate visual for how I feel. The day Ty and I got married I looked at his face and couldn’t imagine ever loving someone as much as I love him. I couldn’t fathom it until Carter came along and changed everything.
It wasn’t just this new person in my life who caused a need for more room in my heart. When Carter came along he showed me new things to love about my husband. He revealed qualities I could only imagine were there before. Little moments, seemingly insignificant to others, mean so much to me.
It’s the look on his face when he first sees Carter as he walks in the door after work. The fact that he puts lotion on Carter after a bath when he can’t stand the way lotion feels on his hands. So much so that he refuses to put lotion on his own dry, cracked skin. But he will put lotion on his baby’s skin simply as a preventative measure. The look he gives me when Carter is crying for a reason that can be prevented, like suctioning out his nose. The look that says, I know you have to do this, but for the love of all things, please stop, it’s breaking my heart. How the man my family lovingly deems "beasticle" because he breaks things on accident, the bull in the china shop, somehow becomes gentle when he's holding our baby. When he holds Carter’s little hands in his own and looks down at them I can tell he's picturing all the things their hands will do together. The fact that he wants to be a better person, a better role model, a healthier man all for the sake of his son. All of these things and more make the love grow.
Tonight as I stood in the dark bedroom slowly rocking side to side holding the most beautiful being to enter this world, I look down into his face and I see his dad. And somehow, only God knows how, my heart grows just a little bit larger because tomorrow I will love him more than I did today. I love him so much it hurts. In the morning as I look back at him in the arms of his teacher I know what it feels like for my heart to live outside my body. It’s the most amazing and rewarding thing, but also extraordinarily painful. I keep thinking to myself, this is how my parents must feel. How do they do it? It is so hard. Loving Carter makes me realize how much they love me. Whew, that's a lot!
I thought as time went on leaving him would be easier as I would become accustomed to it. Now I’m realizing it will only get harder as he interacts more and can show emotions beyond smiling. Some day we will drop him off at college and I will look back as I walk away and I am thankful beyond words that I will have Ty there beside me to hold my hand, dry my tears, and whisper encouragement in my ear. He’s my right hand, my backbone, my strength, my love. And it grows every day.