Everyone’s granny once told them that babies don’t keep and, mama, that is too true. Take it from someone who just went to the six-month well check for the baby that I swear was just born yesterday… It all goes by too quickly. And yet, sometimes it feels like it will never end.
For working parents, you are usually only with your kids for the busiest parts of that day – getting ready to get out the door in the morning for work and childcare drop off and then again for after school activities, dinner, bath, and bedtime. It’s all you can do to take a deep breath and not lose your cool when the toddler has another meltdown, because they want the blue sippy cup and you dared to put their drink in the green one or the dog eats half the baby’s dinner right off their highchair tray. Trust me, we’ve all been there. Sometimes it is almost impossible to remember in the heat of some of the most infuriating moments to actually enjoy those babies, toddlers, stinky preteens, and angsty teens.
This is why I always nurse my babies to sleep.
Because, despite all the crap I went through with horrible pregnancies and challenging births, I get how people keep having more kids even when they think they’re done. I’m in the dark, rocking a gassy baby who finally fell back asleep, and I could live here forever.
Because those quiet moments in the rocking chair in their room, when they are half asleep and smell like milk… those are the moments I’ll miss more than anything. I joke sometimes that I always thought the mom in that book I’ll Love You Forever was so creepy to crawl into her son’s room and hold him. But after I finish putting down the 6-month-old that should still be a newborn, it’s all I can manage to keep myself from sneaking into my toddler’s room to snuggle him. And honestly, the only reason I don’t do it is because I know I would wake him up and he would be a Grouchy Gus.
So, I will hold those babies tight for as long as they will let me. I will watch them fall back asleep after every bad dream, every sad moment, and every long day. I will look down at their precious sleeping faces and feel my eyes well up with tears from the pure joy and overwhelming love I have for them. I will be completely amazed that I literally grew such incredible tiny human beings. I will nurse them or rock them to sleep, then stay there a little bit longer just to breathe them in.
Because, sometimes, in the glow of the sound machine, when they are asleep in my lap with their faces tilted up toward me, I can see the little boy, the young adult, and the grown man that they’re going to be. And, I know that babies don’t keep.