Sometimes I'll watch Rafael, doing his own thing, talking to himself, looking at his hands or out the window, and it will hit me: this little boy is is own person, and doesn't belong to me, even though it tends to feels that way. He has a life story stretched before him, all his own, with trials and tribulations, joys and lessons, adventures and so many, many things to see and experience. In those moments, looking at this being who is less of a quiet observer and more of an active individual with each passing day, I am overcome with the blessing of every moment that I am able to spend with him. There will come a time when I'm not the center of his universe anymore. He will be a grown man, with so many people and things in his life, and I will just be a small part of it, though I hope still an important and happy part. So, for now, I am deeply grateful for this time, being so close to him; being his clown, his comfort, his hero, his provider, his guide, his cheerleader, his biggest fan.
Ramon joined Rafael and me on a trip to Vienna for a bit of shopping last week. We took the train, and Raffi got so excited looking out of the train window at the world speeding by. He was giddy and rosy-cheeked, bouncing and screeching. Then, suddenly, and for the first time, he began playing peek-a-boo with me. He (a bit clumsily) dropped his head to my chest and brought it back up. "Kuck-kuck!" I said, which is the German version of 'peek-a-boo.' He grinned. And repeated it. And repeated it. And repeated it. Ramon and I were fascinated and also somewhat shocked....our baby was playing with us! He had actually payed attention and learned from all those times I hid my face and then popped it out crying 'Kuck-kuck!' Now, about once a day, he'll suddenly decide to play peek-a-boo with me, and my heart is bursting every time he buries his face into my chest and then swings it back up, waiting for me to say, 'Kuck-kuck!'
P.S. Look what I was up to today, two years ago...it's fun to go back in time! :)