No third-wheel feeling this Mother’s Day

May. 09, 2014 @ 10:33 AM

The kid loves his mom.

I think he finds me amusing when I’m not steering him clear of one disaster or another. I know he likes to go on afternoon strolls and clings to my neck when I carry him. He enjoys sneaking pens out of my shirt pocket. He’s fascinated by any remote controls I might have on hand.
But John Michael absolutely adores Catherine.
He’ll turn a year old in two weeks. He’s walking with a lot of confidence and climbing with a fearlessness that terrifies me.
When his mother’s home, John Michael follows her with unyielding devotion. He helps – more or less – load silverware into the dishwasher. He runs some kind of clandestine “shoe relocation” program. He carries a plunger and toilet scrubber in each hand like they’re royal scepters.
When she carries him, he’ll sneak in close and give her a gentle kiss.
No doubt, he loves her. And her frequent proclamations of “Mama love!” are largely unnecessary. It’s clear she adores him too.
Sunday’s her first Mother’s Day.
Recently, she texted me how excited she was. My response was predictably snarky: “Man. Another holiday I have to buy a card for?”
All foolishness aside: She’s an amazing mother.
Before we got married, this woman squirmed at the thought of following behind the dog with a bag to scoop up his mess during walks. Now she can change a wriggling baby’s full diaper on the floor of the Bonefish Grill restaurant in Southpoint like a pro.
She’s trying to teach him Greek. She’s showing him videos on the iPad about American Sign Language. She reads to him. She sings to him. I’m not always sure what she’s singing and sometimes she’s just narrating whatever she’s doing at the moment with a musical lilt.
But now, when music plays or John Michael hears people singing, he’ll try to sing along.
It’s amazing to think that it’s almost been a year since we got the news at Walt Disney World that our dream of becoming parents had come true.
Not too long ago, we moved John Michael into his own room on the other side of the house. He’s also got a dedicated safe-play zone. We took him to the mall for his first real pair of shoes: size 5 ½.
So much change; so fast.
I recall reading before our son came into our lives that I might feel like a third wheel. That hasn’t happened yet. I still feel like an important part of our family team. Now that John Michael is mobile, I get to step up more as protector, educator and part-time playmate.
If we’re playing and she wanders into the room, though, I get a timeout. Almost immediately, he’ll scramble to her, grinning, arms in the air.
I could be jealous, I guess. But why? It’s great to have something in common.
The kid loves his mom.

Wes Platt can be reached at wplatt@heraldsun.com or 919-419-6684. Follow on Twitter at @HS_WesPlatt. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/wesplattheraldsun.