Just like clockwork, here you are. As I watch you groggily rub your half-squinted sleepy eyes while dragging your feet across the living room floor to where I’ve been hunkered down for the past couple of hours in the comfort of couch, blanket, and pillows, practically in a Netflix coma, the anticipation of some rare cuddle time fills my mommy heart with giddy excitement. And I’m reminded as you curl those lanky legs up in my lap and rest your head against my chest that long gone are the toddler years and the baby years seem more like a distant fairytale rather than reality. I try my hardest to remember when it happened…when you became one of the “big kids.” Too many firsts have come and gone to count and the partition between baby and big boy is blurred in my memories. I strain to remember the smell of your freshly bathed newborn head as I now run my fingers across your coarse sandy blonde hair. And I try my best to remember the sound of your tiny giggles as I smothered your face and chubby baby belly with kisses.
Each day you get further away from that little baby I once knew and inch closer to the man God is forming you to be. And here I sit, realizing how finite my mommy mind actually is. The older you get, the more difficult it grows for me to picture every detail of you as my first little baby. Time has a way of stealing away simple memories of late night nursing sessions, naptimes spent cuddled up together, and silly games of peekaboo played for hours on end. So in these moments in the quiet of the night as I lie here with you in my arms, I will etch this memory deep into my heart and mind so that it won’t be so easily forgotten. How I wish I had done this more when you were my tiny babe! I wish I had not worried so much over your incessant colicky crying or stressed over the lack of poopy diapers you had in a week or cried over how little sleep I had gotten. If only I knew then, what I know now.
Time comes and goes so much faster than I ever really fathomed. Sure, I was urged to enjoy every moment because time flies, but I never really understood how fast that truly meant. If I had realized that practically overnight you would decide you didn’t need my help brushing your teeth, bathing you, dressing you, or feeding you anymore, I would have enjoyed all of it so much more. Instead of counting these times as chores to complete, I would have instead counted it my joy. My privilege. My want to. I wouldn’t have grumbled to myself about how I just needed a break or how if only you would crawl/walk/talk/potty by yourself, then life would be so much easier. And honestly it is “easier” now in some ways, but in others it’s harder. You’re growing up which means new challenges will arise and the innocence you possessed as a little one will begin to fade away. You are no longer my tiny baby.
Now before I continue on with these bombarding thoughts and psych myself out over the many inevitable challenges ahead, I will come back down out of my head and hold you just a little while longer. Because this is a moment I want to remember. No more allowing them to slip by unnoticed. These are the moments that I will cherish forever.