It’s been awhile since I felt that old ache. I made it through the decision that Son had outgrown his exersaucer with little more than a feeling of relief in being able to let go of another piece of cumbersome baby equipment. I’m handling the two additional teeth finally poking through Son’s gums with even more relief. The demon-baby fits have subsided. We still don’t know if they were attributable to teething or needing to poop, but hopefully it is now a moot point. Son’s budding skills at cruising the perimeters of the furniture also brings a feeling of relief. By the time spring comes around again, son will be walking well enough to make trips to the park bearable. To this point he has had to be strapped in his stroller or a park swing or held in my arms in spite of the fact that he screamed and wildly stretched his entire body toward the ground longing to roll around in the dirt while his big sister climbed the monkey bars and flew down the slides. And I simply cannot overstate the sheer RELIEF of Son’s recent achievement of sleeping from until without waking up hungry at or earlier. Even the fact that son is just about done with all bottle feedings and is drinking whole cow’s milk instead of formula feels like a relief. Those $20 cans of formula add up, not to mention bottles are a major pain. Daughter never drank formula or used bottles, and it was really a lot easier that way. Even Son’s upcoming first birthday feels like a relief, as it is attached to some very strong THANK GOD! feelings of relief that I am not about to give birth as I was at this time last year. Nope, not a single hint of an ache on any of those accords.
BUT, I did feel that ache again last night as I cradled my son in my arms and rocked him to sleep. I stood by the side of his crib rocking him in my arms thinking how big he is getting, how he is pushing into size two toddler clothing already, and I noticed his legs dangling far beyond my cradling arms. I looked at his sleepy eyes growing heavier by the second as he lay contently in my embrace. I kissed his chubby cheek, his nose, his chin, the top of his fuzzy head, and I lingered. I chased a flashback of holding Daughter the same way and considered how quickly the past three years turned my newborn baby girl into a budding pre-schooler who wants to know all about constellations and outer space and tells me she wants to grow up to be an astronaut. I held Son a little closer and a little longer, and there was no relief in that moment. There was just that ache, and a deep longing to somehow make the moment last forever.