Carter is growing so fast. Next week, he'll be six months old. One hundred and eighty-one days of him- gone to memories. I repeatedly ask the heavens for a pause button just so I can remember this day and hold it, him, a little bit longer. I'm not ready to lose him, the baby him. I love the way he loves me, the way he needs me. It's fading though. His independence is growing and while I know the growing him is wonderful too- I already miss my baby.
I am overwhelmed, today – and was overwhelmed yesterday, and the day before that, and am certain that I will be similarly overwhelmed tomorrow – with this singular thought: I do not want my boy to grow up.
I don’t. I just don’t. I know that his future is bright and amazing and that the him that he will be in that bright and amazing future is a him that I will adore with every ounce of the intensity that I adore him now, and then some, but.
At this precise moment in time I am so love with Baby Him, with his soft, pale curls and his baby-tooth grin and his chubby baby bum and his tiny, grabby fists that clutch and hold and cling and the fact that I can press him to me and just hold, just hold on and breathe him in and pretend that we are still two pieces of one body, that I could, if I wanted to, press him back into my chest to beat as my own heart. This him, this incarnation of the human being that he is, this small, precious, sweet-smelling clutchable form of him – this I want to keep. This I want not to lose.
I know that this is impossible; wrong, even. I know that I should rejoice in the fact that he grows, he thrives, he marches – he leaps! he runs! he tumbles! – steadfastly forward into his own future. And I do, I do rejoice in this, just as I have rejoiced in the transformation of his sister from baby into girl. But I also mourn.
This is a truth about being a parent that nothing and no-one can prepare you for: that it is a continual experience of loss, a never-ending stream of moments of goodbye. That from the moment your children come into your life you are losing them. That the person your child is today is a person you will never meet again, a person that you will, in some ways, forget, as he or she is replaced by new people, bigger people, faster people, people with more words, people with more independence, people whose primary purpose is to move continually away from you.
Here are some of my most favorite moments from every day, lately:
- When I pick him up from his bed after he's finished stretching to greet the day. He's still in that sleepy daze and will usually relax his body onto my shoulder which I soak up before the day starts.
- The mid-nursing swap when he happily waits with his mouth wide open like my very own baby bird.
- The beaming smile at seeing me at the end of the day.
- The loving strokes of nursing a sleepy baby drifting off to dream.
I want to remember every moment. His smells, his smiles. What noises make him happy and what touches make him squeal with delight. This living, breathing, BEING that is part C and part me- it's amazing. Absolutely amazing.
We've been talking about having another. Are we capable? Will it be too much? And the question that keeps catching in my throat- How can I ever love another as much as I love Carter? How can one be capable of that much love? I guess when I know the answers, I'll know I'm ready. But until then, I am so happy and honored just to be Carter's mom.