I have to stop reading my Facebook newsfeed. Between the terrifying news updates about war and disease, and the sharing of time-sucking, mindless drivel (yes, I did watch the keyboard cat more times than I care to admit) it always ends up making me feel worse than before I looked.
And I keep promising myself I won’t do it, and I just don’t listen! Oh well, suit myself… I warned me…
Like… the other day, when some well meaning friend (and I really don’t remember who, I apologize) shared some list of things that will make you sad or hate yourself, or whatever it was that they had to say to get stupid me to click on it… but whatever it was I did, and before I knew it I couldn’t unread what I had just read.
Someday you will pick up your son for the last time.
As soon as I read this, I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. Someday, I will pick up my son and put him down, and it will be the last time. What a harrowing, bittersweet, but mostly bitter thought. Now, if you know me at all (and some of you do,) you know that I resist change, but more specifically I am like the real life Peter Pan. I don’t wish my life away, I don’t want to grow up, and I don’t want any of the people in my life to either- If I had my way, we would be like the Simpsons; wearing the same outfits and sitting on the same couch for over 25 years. Sure we could change it up, with how we GET to the couch, but everything else would stay the same. Unfortunately life doesn’t work like that…and so reading stuff like this, well it is just salt in a VERY big wound.
Now obviously I still pick up my son, and I will be picking him and Tiny up for many more years I imagine- but one thing that has in fact gone by the wayside is that both of my children have grown out of falling asleep with me. We are big co-sleepers in my house, but around 4-5 months, both of my babies have flexed their independence (and tiny kicking legs) to have their own place to sleep. And from that day on, they simply can’t fall asleep with me anymore.
I mean I get it, I am an exciting gal! I would want to stay up and hang out with me to- but still it makes me sad because I miss that so much, I miss the weight of a little head on my chest, the breathing of a small warm being, completely content just being safe in the presence of his mama…there is nothing that compares to that- and well yeah, I never got to say goodbye to that.. it just stopped one day…there was no warning.
Yesterday, when I woke up at my usual o’ dark thirty to nurse my son, I expected him to finish eating, and then do his usual scramble to be placed back in his bed. I looked at him as his swallowing slowed down, waiting for that unlatch and discomfort…only it didn’t come. I looked down at him in disbelief and much to my absolute surprise and delight, I could hear little snores coming from him. The little man was asleep!
I laid there perfectly still, taking it all in, the curves of his face, his tiny chest moving up and down while he dreamed, I looked at his fingers softly relaxed from being full, and in that moment I silently thanked him for this moment.. it was almost like he knew.. and he was letting me give this up on my own terms, he was breaking it to me gently, growing up with compassion for how hard it is for me.
Fast forward to last night…..(I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried, people)
I hear sheer screams from Tiny’s room. I race upstairs (mostly so she won’t wake her brother,) and find her standing in her crib, tears streaming down her face. I pick her up and ask her if she is ok, and for the first time ever, (including bumps and falls, and sneezes) she tells me she isn’t. I hug her to my chest as we round the corner and bring her to the couch where I sit down and wrap her legs around me and cradle her as she sobs. This must be what nightmares feel like..I wait for her to break the hug and start asking for snacks, water, toys, like she usually does when I rescue her from the dreaded crib, but it doesn’t happen. She just lays there like a rag doll, buried in my shoulder as her breathing begins to get regular… my little Tiny falls asleep. Right there on my shoulder, on the couch… she fell asleep. And thinking back to that morning, I just hold her and thank G-d for this gift, because that is what this was.. a GIFT.
Like her brother that morning, it didn’t last very long and I didn’t expect it to… just enough time to savor the moment, to breathe their hair, to look at them, to be thankful for them and the blessing they have brought into my life. And before I knew it, they were awake again, because falling asleep on mama just isn’t as comfy to them anymore.
Both of my children fell asleep on me yesterday.
It may be the last time that ever happens, but that is ok, because I was ready. I cherished every moment and stopped time to look at those gorgeous babies. If this is the last time it happens at least I got to say goodbye. At least it was on my terms.
As I look toward the future, I know there will be many other things to look forward to, and many other things that fall away as my children grow up, but I can assure you- that never again will I take for granted the little things that melt away, because it’s true, you never know when that last time will be.