Bennett is my mama’s boy. He loves me in a way that I did not even know possible. You know when you go away on a trip for a while, and then you finally come back home and you just breathe that little sigh of relief? You can be 100% you. There is a certain peace that comes from being home that you can’t get anywhere else. I am home to Bennett. I can feel him do that sigh from deep within his bones when he gets back into my arms. He has been like that since day 1.
It has taught me so much about motherhood and true love. It comes with moments every day that feel a little claustrophobic. I want him to be so happy and comfortable, but I also need two hands or a moment alone. I had many moms tell me, “You will miss it one day.” I felt so much frustration and guilt with that line. They could not know he had not slept all night. They did not see him scream next to me while I tried to pump a little milk for him since he wouldn’t nurse. Had they forgotten what it is like to to not do the most basic things for yourself (shower, eat, pee) because you cannot hear one more minute of your sweet baby crying?
Guess what? Bennett is 15 months old now, and he has decided to spread his wings a little. He laughs! He plays! He walks away from me and discovers things! For the first time in his life, he seems really happy. I do not miss the scary nights or the crying all day. I do not even miss how he needed to be held so constantly by me.
As he spreads his wings he is leaving some of his little baby feathers behind to make room for stronger ones. For about six months of his life he would cling on to me after waking up from his nap like he was trying to forget all those moments we were apart. It was the most desperate and loving hug I will ever experience. He would hide his little head in my neck and breathe really deep and fast. It felt like he was reassuring himself that he could be ok again, mama was there. I completely lost myself in him every. single. time. In those moments our love was the closest thing I can imagine to what God must feel for us.
I cannot tell you the day he stopped doing it. I don’t remember the last hug like that. I remember how they all felt and what they looked like, but I can’t quite find the memory of the last one. I wish I could remember exactly how old he was, or what he was wearing, or how long we stood like that just holding each other. Was it a really long one? Did he have tears on his face? Did I really soak it in? It kills me that I had no idea I would never get another hug quite like that. That little baby feather dropped one day and I had no idea.
That is how it is with motherhood. They are always changing, always growing. When I read this quote a little bit ago, it was like I finally understood what “You will miss it one day,” really means:
The Last Time
From the moment you hold your baby in your arms, you will never be the same. You might long for the person you were before, when you had freedom and time, and nothing in particular to worry about. You will know tireless like you never knew it before, and days will run into days that are exactly the same, full of feeding and burping, whining and fighting, naps, or lack of naps. It might seem like a never-ending cycle. But don’t forget…There is a last time for everything. There will come a time when you will feed your baby for the very last time. They will fall asleep on you after a long day and it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child. One day you will carry them on your hip, then set them down, and never pick them up that way again. You will scrub their hair in the bath one night and from that day on they will want to bathe alone. They will hold your hand to cross the road, then never reach for it again. They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles, and it will be the last night you ever wake for this. One afternoon you will sing ‘the wheels on the bus’ and do all the actions, then you’ll never sing that song again. They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate, the next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone. You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face. They will one day run to you with arms raised, for the very last time. The things is, you won’t even know it’s the last time until there are no more times, and even then, it will take you a while to realize. So while you are living in these times, remember there are only so many of them, and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them for one last time. – Author unknown
They aren’t saying it is easy to love all the hard moments, but that you don’t necessarily know the moments to be EXTRA grateful for until they are gone. They aren’t saying you have to love every tantrum and sleepless night, but that when you have your last tantrum and your last sleepless night you will also have your last of something that makes your heart burst with love. They are not saying don’t ever complain because you will regret it, but don’t forget to be grateful…so so grateful…and to try to leave your heart there.
As a mom I sometimes let the bad moments tell my whole story for the day. I will always have bad moments, but when I read that quote I remember to not let those carry me. The good moments are just as powerful and so much sweeter. I cannot bare to think that one of the times little Benny says “Mama” in his tiny loving voice or tries to growl like a bear or wobbles down the sidewalk with his little fingers intertwined with mine will be the last. The next time it feels ‘hard’ I will tell my mama heart, “You’ll miss this one day.”
I won’t mean the crying, but the little baby feathers he has to shed to make room for those big ones so that he says “Mom” with the voice of a gentleman or practices growling like a bear with his own little boy or walks sturdy with his hand intertwined with a different woman he loves…not me.
Chances are I won’t remember most of his lasts, but just like they say…I’ll miss them one day.