Thursday, November 15, 2012

Savoring Every Spoonful of Sweetness

Dear Charlie, 

A few short months ago I was still just imagining what it would be like to be a mom, excited to meet you but worrying over whether I'd be able to adjust to the responsibility and agonizing that I would somehow break you.  I wondered whether I'd still keep my identity as a person and if there would still be time for the things I loved to do in my life "before." 

It's amazing how these past few months have changed my whole outlook on life.  

I now have the best job in the whole world as your Mommy.  Yes, I'm still my own person with interests, dreams and goals, but first and foremost, I'm your mom, Little Nugget.  And life is so good this way.

I used to smile and nod politely when other moms would describe just how changed for the better their worlds were after they had children, how they loved everything about their child and didn't care that there was less “me” time, because it was all worth it.  Then they would describe sleepless nights as a "passing phase" they could barely recall, and I'd discount anything they’d said before, reeling at the suggestion that lost sleep could ever be acceptable. 

These moms told me how they now worried about the craziest things, that they had new super powers that would wake them from a dead sleep at the slightest whisper of a noise from the baby's room and that they could spend hours just staring at their little one.  Again I’d smile, but wonder to myself whether they ever got just a little bit frustrated or bored. 

Well, I get it now.  From the desire to just sit and gaze at this amazing little person who has filled my heart to bursting to that overwhelming  feeling that I would stop traffic or run into a burning building, ANYTHING, to keep you safe.
Just looking at that face, your sweet crinkly eyebrows, turns me to mush.  You have owned my heart from the moment you entered this world, Charlie, and I can't stop thinking about what a blessed, golden time this is.  You are such a sweet little man and life with you in it is so incredibly good.  

The simplest things about being your mom fill me to overflowing with joy and gratitude for the gift that is you:

·      Listening to the first sounds of you waking up in the morning, grunting and chirping to yourself, just hanging out.  And then that big, happy smile that breaks across your cherubic little face as we come in to welcome you to the day.

·      I love how you hold on to my fingers when I feed you your bottle, and the way you constantly "worry" fabric, rubbing it between your tiny fingers while you eat and take in the world.  Do you know that your mommy, your Nana and even your Great Grandma Jean did that too?  It seems crazy, but you have inherited, of all things, an unconscious need to rub soft fabric and snuggle it up to your face for comfort.

While I love all things about our days together, I particularly treasure our late night feedings.  Just as Daddy has his early mornings with you, the nights are mine.  I love going into your room to scoop you up, my fingers tingling with anticipation, though I always feel a little guilty waking you out of the peaceful sleep of an angel.  But then, once you're full and I put you over my shoulder to burp, you fall asleep again, so content, so relaxed and trusting, your milky baby breath softly brushing my neck.  

I'll sit there still patting your back, knowing I need to return you to your crib for the night, but always savoring it for just a little longer because I just want to hold on to you forever. So I press my cheek to your warm baby head and take it in for just a few minutes longer. 

When I was first pregnant, a part of me worried that I would wish away the baby times because I wouldn't know what to do with you.  You'd be so little, so floppy, so helpless, so needy.  I'd see families with older children and think, "If we can just make it until he's that age, we'll be fine..."

I couldn't have been more wrong.  Yes, you were all of those things -  a bit floppy, somewhat needy and altogether dependent upon us to care for you -  but as it turned out, I love having a baby.  From the moment our eyes first met, I knew we were in this thing together and then none of it was scary anymore.  

It's been lot of work, but nothing we can't handle together because we are a team - you, your dad and me.  Who knew that so many of the things I'd once feared would turn out to be the treasures to which I'd want to hold on, to savor like the last spoonful of dessert?  Being your mom is like breathing.  It is so natural, so comfortable and so completely a part of who I am now.  
Everyone tells me that as their babies grow, they look back fondly on what came before but always think the current stage is "the best."   This is comforting in the moments when I start to feel that it's all going too fast.  Some nights I don't want to go to sleep for fear of this time slipping away.  I can't help but wonder how this life, this time with you, could get any better.  And I want each moment with you while you are like this - so sweet and happy and snuggly - to last forever.

And then the very next day you pull something brand new out of our bag of tricks and I am reminded of how good it will continue to be as you explore this big world.  The first time you smiled or laughed or reached for me melted my heart anew.  Each new discovery you’ve made has been a wonder for all of us. 

So, yes, I'm looking forward to watching you learn and grow, to discover and delight in the newness of things.   I know that's part of what makes being a parent so rewarding.  But for once in my life, I'm not letting myself worry too much about what comes next.  

For now, I plan to continue inhaling that sweet scent of bébé-head, the chuckles and grunts erupting coming from the backseat on our morning car rides and the feeling of your soft baby fuzz brushing against my cheek as we snuggle and you burrow your little face more deeply into the crook of my shoulder.  

I know you won't always be this little and that someday I will yearn for the pureness of this time.  So for today and tomorrow and the next day after that, I will be fully, completely present, savoring every morsel of this time together and reveling in every last spoonful of its sweetness.

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