Friday, February 4, 2011
2556 Days Ago...
Seven years ago today you made me a mommy and I knew for the first time what it really meant to be willing to take a bullet/jump in front of a bus/never get a full night of sleep again for someone. On the first night in the hospital, we sent you to the nursery so we could relax and sleep knowing you were in the care of professionals. You had some reflux and would randomly gag and choke in a way that was supposedly common for a brand new baby, but scared us to death. I knew I would never sleep if I was listening for you. Throughout the night, the nurses would bring you in to eat and then take you back, leaving me to doze. Around 3 a.m. I was woken up by night nursery nurse shortly after I had just fed you and sent you back.
"He is really fussy and isn't responding to being held or a pacifier or anything we have tried. We thought he might want to nurse again."
You did not. Decidedly. As soon as I took you in my arms, you burrowed your little head down and fell asleep making puppy noises and nothing I could do made you interested in eating. You just wanted to cuddle with your mama. I tucked the blanket Grandma made you around you and held you on my chest. You fit perfectly, with your head in the hollow under my chin. I didn't sleep at all, but I sat in the warm, quiet dark and listened to you breathe and to daddy breathe and was happier at that moment than I ever thought possible. You didn't budge for hours and I imagined that you must feel secure now that you could hear and feel my familiar heart beat. It was one of the best nights I have ever had, even without a wink of sleep. From that night on, you had me from your little hands that you never would curl into fists but hung in front of you (Mr. Burns style) to your big bright eyes that would search mine so intently before you figured out how to light them up with smiles. As you grew, we were always amazed at how sad we thought we would be to leave each phase behind and how surprising it was to have each new one be just as great. For some reason, I am still surprised at how much I love each new phase you grow into even while missing my baby. Since that first night, I have often thought about how easy it was to comfort you just by my presence and I wished the unattainable wish of mothers everywhere, that I could always shield you from any hurt.
Seven years have passed in a blink and mothering has taught me a few things in the meantime. The time has passed when simply holding you fixed whatever was wrong (although I hope it still helps, because I am going to do it anyway.) The desire to protect you forever will probably never leave but I am learning that I have to step back sometimes now and let you figure out how to fight your own battles and deal with the first steps of an independent life. In so many ways, you are wise beyond your years. You are so smart and caring and sensitive and imaginative. I am so proud of you and of the person you are becoming and the way you have handled the big changes of the last year and a half.
I am lucky to be your mom and you always inspire me to be a better one. Every morning when you crawl in next to me at the crack of dawn to get warm or talk my ear off, I think of that first night and how glad I am that you are still little enough to cuddle. Your head still fits right under my chin. I love you. You are one of the three greatest blessings of my life.
Happy Birthday Junior!