He told me he was “momma’s baby.” He snuggled up tight in my lap and drank his milk. After he drank it all, we simply cuddled for a long time more, him cradled in my arms, responding to his sister’s requests of play with his simple phrase, “I momma’s baby.”
I soaked it in. I breathed him in. I studied and memorized every part of his sweet frame. Because I was not fooled. I knew he was simply playing “pretend” with me. Because he and I both know how much a baby he no longer is.
Eventually moving on from the moment, he and his sister decided to take all his recent art work and tear it to bits. And I snapped this photo of him as quickly as I could. To freeze this face. This face that is in constant movement, forever on the go.
This face that just yesterday looked up at me a newborn. This face that now bears the marks of a little boy.
And as I looked at my toddler, no longer a “real baby,” I thought of all the mommas with infants. The ones whose child still rests in the womb. The one who is waking up throughout the nights, who remembers sleep as some sort of far off hazy dream.
To her I wish to say:
Hold onto him. Cling as tightly as you can to her. A baby today–sleepless nights seemingly forever. Feeding, and feeding, and feeding some more.
But it will be here and gone so quickly.
Slow down as much as you can. Stop to breathe in his sweet smell as often as possible. Memorize the size and softness of each precious finger. Linger in the moments–even the hard ones.
Life is precious. They say this, I know. But never before have I understood the depth of its meaning.
Life is short. How many times I have heard this phrase! And yet I have come to see that “short” is the understatement of a lifetime.
Hold fast. Hold tight. Hold and hold and don’t put him down. Throw out all that “spoiled baby” talk. How can you hold a baby too much? Before “too much” has come they will be wriggling out of your longing arms.
Enjoy the days–even the long ones. Don’t wish them to hurry by.
You will one day wear makeup again. And believe it or not, those skinny jeans will find their way around your hips once more.
But this one–in your arms–you only get to have for a little while.
You are his momma. You are her world.
It’s okay to throw out all other priorities for a while. To put life on the back burner and not look back for at least five years.
This is life. This is everything you need. Right here in your arms.
Breathe in your precious world.