I don’t think a day passes in which I am not told to enjoy these days. I remember being told the same thing when Jacob was a baby, and I remember feeling stressed about it. There is so much to do! I’m overwhelmed and now I’ve added “enjoy this time of life” to my list. I’m sure that sounds silly, but it felt like another responsibility, and I had enough of those. I try to remember everything, but I know, from my experience with your brother, that it just isn’t possible. I think this time around, with two, I’m just too busy to worry about that as much. When people tell me to enjoy these days, I answer with a resounding “oh I am!” Beacuse I really am. I enjoy you so much more than I know how to process. If only I could save this somehow. More than a picture or video or keepsake. I wish I could bottle up the way you smell and feel to pull out years later when the memory has faded. I can already feel the shadow of the emptiness I will feel when you are not a baby. When you are not in my arms or snuggled into my shoulder. It marrs, slightly, the experience I am having now, and I know that, but I am powerless to stop it. Enjoy this time? How could I do anything but?
And it’s true. I enjoy almost every minute of every day. You are the sweetest little creature and I delight in you. You are calm, patient, and trusting. Your innocence…oh I know it’s cliche to write about the innocence of a child, but in you it is striking. Watching you figure out how to use your tiny hand to grab my face is like a revelation for both of us. What did I do to deserve this experience? I feed you, and I watch your eyes lock onto my face. I watch you turn your bobbly head to see me across the room as I pick up around the house. I see the way you look at me, and I realize what I mean to you, and each time I am freshly awash in awe and a sense of gratitude. What have I done to deserve your faith and trust in me? Nothing. I’ve just existed. I’ve just…been here. And yet, the way you look at me, it’s as if you have every confidence in my ability to make everything okay. I never want to cause you not to believe that, to disappoint you, but I know I will. It’s bittersweet to realize that as you come to know me better, you’ll see my fallibility and shortcomings, and they will affect you. I can only hope that you will love me in spite of them, perhaps even because of them. It’s my very human heart that guides me in how I mother you. I’ll make mistakes, but I will always have the best of intentions.
It’s hard to be a mother of a baby. I don’t get much–well any–time to myself. No one sees me beyond you. Sometimes, in the midst of caring for your needs and your brother’s, I wonder how much of me exists. I am lost in a sea of laundry, my neck aches from rocking you, my clothes constantly smell of spit up. You don’t like to spend much time not in my arms, and so I have very short windows in which to do the things I must to keep this household running and your brother clean. And yet–it must be by intelligent design–when you do start to fuss from your impatience without me, my fingers have already begun to ache to pick you up. Each time I do, your softness, your smell, the sound of your sweet breath are too delectable to describe. I delight in you.
And so, my dear, please take it easy on me. My all-to-human heart and this imperfect memory disc of a brain will cause us both some grief someday. It’s hard for me to think about, and so usually I try not to. I push those thoughts aside and breathe in your sweet smell. I let my lips disappear into your impossibly soft and squishy cheek, and I just enjoy you.