There are moments in parenting that you fully expect to be loaded with emotion. The first step. The first “mama.” The first day spent in the care of someone else. Those you anticipate, steel yourself, embrace.
Then there are others that sneak up and take your breath away like a knockout punch to the gut. So much more powerful because you haven’t had time to prepare, haven’t been waiting .
Tonight I was sitting with A in the glider, thankful that my almost two-year-old still likes to sit with me at the end of the day and chatter aimlessly (“Mama” “Dada” “home” “yeah”). He still wants to curl into me before he drifts off, still wants to feel my warmth and my hand cupping his cheek. At the right moment–somehow you always know when it’s time to lay him down–I scooped one hand under his bottom and another under his head, and just like that he was cradled in my arms like a newborn.
He stilled instantly. He was suddenly fast asleep, completely secure and content in my arms. And he was so, so heavy. And in that moment, I began to weep. How did I come to be cradling a boy? Where did my baby go? I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I was mesmerized by his peaceful expression, unable to stand and release him into his crib. I held him tightly and I kissed his forehead for the upteenth time tonight.
How are we here already? His babyhood was too short, too fleeting. I tried to cherish every night, I really did. Still, the time feels like grains of sand through my fingers and I’m trying desperately to hold on but I know it’s futile. And the weight of that knowledge…it’s just so heavy.