For the first six and a half months after being born, Andrew only wanted his momma. He was friendly and social but when he was tired/feeling bad/hungry or just not wanting to be social anymore, he wanted me. Maybe it is because I have milk, maybe it's because no one can comfort you like your mother can, maybe he realized he had lived inside me for nine months....whatever the reason, I was his world.
Until two weeks ago after worship services, Philip was holding Andrew. I had been talking to some friends when I heard my baby's unmistakable cry. I quickly excused myself and hurried over to my son, still being held by his father. I assessed the situation and realized my boy was sleepy. I held out my arms for him and waited for him to lean forward and signal he wanted me. Instead he looked at my outstretched arms, then back at his daddy. He turned completely away from me and balled his little fist around Philip's shirt, his tell-tale sign for "I'm staying put."
Philip smiled in shock. Andrew had never shown preference to Philip over me! I knew deep down that it was a good thing. I wanted our son to be "daddy's little boy". Afterall, the father-son bond is something I can duplicate. In the years to come, Philip would teach Andrew how to be a man. How to be a leader, how to be a provider and a protector. There was so much "guy stuff" to be taught -- hunting, video games, guns, knives, football, baseball --- I knew that Philip was suited for that role.
But it still hurt. I'd be lying if I said my eyes didn't tear up and I didn't need to take a moment to gather myself. Even though Andrew's choice wasn't permanent, it still signaled another milestone for growing up.
Over the past few weeks, Andrew's preference for his father becomes more and more apparent. Before Andrew preferred to be right at my breast, easy access for night time feedings, now he chooses to be curled up next to his daddy when he sleeps. When Philip comes home from work, Andrew lets out a squeal of joy and makes every effort to get to where Philip is. He cries for Philip during the day and wants to be in daddy's lap during worship services.
Oh, he still wants me at times. Nursing is a great form of comfort for him and he is still nursing 10-12 times a day. He still wants me when he is hurt and sometimes when daddy's playtime is a little too much, he reaches for me to cuddle with him. But you can see it in his eyes how much he loves his daddy. And you can see in Philip's eyes, how much he loves his son.
I enjoy watching them together. At night while I'm in the kitchen making dinner, I can hear them upstairs laughing and screaming. Or they are downstairs reading a book together. Philip grabs Andrew and throws him up in the air, catches him and they spin around laughing. I know before long Andrew will be talking and saying "Do it again daddy, again! Again!"
Seeing them together over the next couple of years is something I look forward to. Due to Philip's job, I know there will be times when Andrew is without his daddy. I'll do my best to make sure Andrew understands that Philip is gone because he is selfless and is in service to our great nation. I'm sure there will be times when Andrew is mad or upset because his father told him no. I'll do my best to explain that daddy only wants the best for his son and sometimes that means saying "no".
Ultimately, being the mother of a boy is amazing....even when he would rather be with daddy. I won't attempt to understand the band between fathers and sons. I am just thankful that Andrew has a good father. And I'll cherish my own bond with Andrew, as his mother.