I am rocking my baby to sleep, a smile on my face as I stare down at a perfect little person. Those chubby cheeks! Those long, dark eyelashes! Oh, how I adore that tiny fist still clutching my shirt. I am in love. I love the weight of him in my arms. The feel of that tiny chest moving up and down with each breath. His scent – some magical mix of baby and Johnson & Johnson shampoo. I try to commit the moment to memory, hoping that I can recall every detail precisely and exactly how it makes me feel. But, I know it’s impossible and I find that this brings me a low level of anxiety. I don’t want to forget.
Being a mother is a dream come true. It happened a little later for me than most and after a years-long, and emotionally draining journey to conceive. The beauty of that tough journey is that I feel very aware of the blessing my boys are – Hunter will be three- years-old in July and Archer just turned one. I experience a deep gratitude for God’s generosity when I look upon the two most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen. I still can’t believe they’re mine! Thank you Dear Lord for making me a mother!
But, there’s this odd thing that happens as they grow and reach new milestones – I find myself missing and mourning the child they no longer are. When Archer started to crawl, he no longer rolled his way around the house. It was so comical to watch him perfect his rolling technique and then move from room to room following me. I’ll never see that again. The moment he figured out how to crawl, the rolling stopped. And, of course I now love seeing him crawl. I love the sound of his little hands hitting the hardwood floor and his coos of pleasure as he moves around the house. I know he’ll soon be walking, so I try to commit this stage of crawling to memory.
My best defense against the fear of forgetting is simply enjoying the present moment. I want to soak up all the small pleasures my boys bring, so I know I’m not taking anything for granted.
I Love The Feel Of Them. Having a baby on my hip or toddler snuggles on the couch before bedtime. That baby soft, perfect skin. Running my fingers through their hair. Little kisses from Hunter. And giant hugs – I love how tight he squeezes me. When Archer rests his head on my shoulder, I sigh with pleasure. I feel myself smile when Hunter reaches to hold my hand as we’re out for a walk.
I Love The Sound Of Them. There’s nothing cuter than little baby and little boy giggles. They are such happy children, so ready to laugh and play. It’s the sound of pure joy! How about the sound of the first “mama” – to have a child call you mama, mom, mommy – it’s such a beautiful word. Hunter’s precious voice, so innocent, and words mispronounced so sweetly. When he sings the ABCs and trips over “l,m,n,o,p” it gives me an absurd amount of pleasure. Archer’s squeals of delight, even his cries are precious because they are distinctly the cries of a baby.
I Love The Look Of Them. They are sheer perfection in my eyes. The beautiful bow lips. The smiling eyes. Those tiny hands with dimpled knuckles. Little toes, perfect for nibbling. The chubby rolls of baby thighs – so chunky we could never use a bumbo seat!
I Love Experiencing Them. Archer reaches for me, almost clawing at me, desperate for mommy. Hunter seeks refuge and comfort in my arms. The joy of cuddling and reading piles of books together. The fun in playing together – building block towers or racing trucks or playing pretend. Dancing that feels more like jumping up and down. The bathtime routine – Archer’s pleasure at splashing in the tub, Hunter begging for five more minutes. The way they look at you sometimes with such adoration, their love is palpable.
I don’t want to forget any of it. But, I will. I already am. I look at photos and videos of Hunter as a baby and I think “I don’t remember that.” And I certainly don’t remember things with the razor sharp clarity like I thought I would. Things get fuzzy.
So I have to return to the present moment. Because if I keep taking pleasure in all these sensations, details, and moments on a daily basis, I think I’ll always carry a general sense of joy with me. A feeling of gratitude for two boys who’ve brought so much love into my life that I didn’t want to miss a moment.