I wrote this the other day and then didn't get around to posting it because Lucas woke up from his nap a very angry elf. I haven't really edited it, so, you know... grace, please.
We’ve had our fair share of tears, you and I, and I know there are more to come. I’ve had some moments in the middle of the night that I wouldn’t relive, even if someone paid me. I know it sounds better to say that I’ve loved every minute of motherhood, but the truth is that there have been moments where motherhood didn’t feel so great. Temper tantrums and sleepless nights and cranky days that I’m glad are over.
I wouldn’t rewind time, but there are plenty of moments that I’d love to pause it for an hour or so. Today you have a slight fever: not a legitimate fever that “counts” as far as the thermometer is concerned (99.6), but a fever that your mommy can feel when she touches your forehead and warm tummy. Even your daddy, the ER doctor, pointed out that studies have shown that mommies are almost always right about their children having a fever based on the warmth of their skin alone, and he’s more inclined to believe me than the thermometer. You seem healthy otherwise, besides being slightly more emotional than normal and a bit tired. I put you down for your nap half an hour early because you were too tired to wait any longer – so tired that we skipped the bedtime stories and went straight to rocking in our chair in the darkened room while I sang “Jesus Loves Me.” Your head was on my shoulder, and after tossing and turning, you found a comfortable spot – head on my shoulder against my neck, belly pressed against my chest, legs straddling my waist, arms spread wide, sippy cup still clutched in your hand. I thought you had fallen asleep, but when I finished the third verse and rocked you to the soft whir of the air purifier, your little voice asked “gi?” – your version of “again?” And I sang all three verses again slowly, while your breathing slowed and then turned to soft snores. I rocked you longer than I knew was necessary, and I briefly considered rocking you for your whole nap, but you sleep longer if you’re in your crib, and you need the rest. But as I rocked you, I thought that I would like to just pause the moment for a little longer so that I could savor the feeling of your twenty-four pounds relaxed against me while you slept.
Last night after a full and busy day with some friends, I took you out of the car, dressed in orange striped pajamas, and you asked for your daddy, whom you hadn’t seen all day because of a 12-hour shift at the hospital. He came to hug you, and then I said I would put you to bed, and you pushed against me with one arm while reaching for your daddy with the other and said “no!” So your daddy put you to bed instead, and my heart almost burst at how much I love you both and how much you love each other. I would’ve paused that moment, too. You wanting your daddy, and me watching the two of you walk toward the house with your head on his shoulder.
Although I don’t want to do them over again, I can even look back at the sleepless nights with something approaching fondness. There were a few times that I was so desperate to get every second of sleep I could that after the fourth or fifth or tenth time I got up to nurse you, instead of walking back to the bedroom I share with your daddy, I curled up on the floor of your room on a pile of blankets. I was miserable at the time, but looking back, I can’t help but smile at the exhausted mommy sleeping on the floor. At least once, when you were eight months old and teething, you slept on the floor with me, on top of a blanket and my arm, which had lost all feeling from your weight on top of it, but which didn’t seem worth the risk of waking you in order for it to have sensation below the elbow.
So this letter is me pausing time for just a minute so I can cherish all of your toddler sweetness. You Skype-ing with Aunt Ginny and cousin Jacob today and crying because Jacob (or “Juba,” as you called him) left the screen so you couldn’t see him anymore. You laughing a deep, can’t-breathe belly laugh at some of the things that you currently find hilarious – kisses and tickles and peekaboo and being chased and our little joke that we say at least ten times a day: me saying, “Lucas, I’m going to love you even when you’re big and stinky,” and you responding with an enthusiastic “Pee-YEW!” You kissing books and toys and my feet with a loud “mmmm-MA!”
Keep growing and changing, my baby love. But maybe slow down just a little, please.
I love you with all my heart and then some.