Why is it the harder to hold you become, the more I want to hold you? Each night when we rock I feel you growing taller and near impossible to be held like a baby. You quickly readjust to be rocked head against my shoulders, legs stretched down to my knees. And each time I lug you down the hallway dripping bath water in your towel, I am too aware that the task is becoming heavier.
As you race to your first birthday, I realize now that motherhood has phases and the relationship evolves, something I never considered to occur this early in the game. We’re changing. I watch you constantly on the move, determined to grow up too fast, to walk, to run. The cuddles are quick but the smiles are constant.
With each side step around the coffee table you become more independent, more confident and sure. It is a joy to watch you. I am constantly shocked by your observation skills, you want the food on my plate, the remote in my hand, and the cell phone I just shoved behind my back. You don’t miss a single thing.
My heart thrives on each light bulb moment that you have, the spark that flashes in your eyes when you master a new trick. But I can’t help but view each one as bittersweet. You are no longer the helpless bundle that relied on me so greatly. You hurry to find the tiniest pieces of paper to taste and you shove macaroni into your mouth at speeds I didn’t know were possible.
But what I do know is that each change to our relationship will be a bigger, different pill to swallow. I am dealing with the perplexity of why I don’t remember exactly what it felt like to hold you at eight pounds or even the sound of your little cry. I tried so hard to capture those moments in my soul like a living snapshot. Though my memory is foggy, I am sure that they will never truly disappear. A mother’s soul is built and sustained on these moments of raw, untouchable love. But I believe that our minds know that we cannot dwell and that we most move forward with our ever changing and growing little ones. The fact remains that there will be moments when I look at you and can only see that tiny, new person who changed the focus of my world. And in those moments an assured blink will bring me back to reality and take my breath away.
Today you refused to sleep without a considerable amount of rocking. Today I obliged and refused to let you cry. Months of being laid down awake has not been lost on your temporary need to be comforted and soon you will refuse to be rocked at all.
I find myself confused and a little lost. I will continue to take each day and independence-gaining milestone as it comes. I know now that that is what all of us mothers do at each stage and tick of the clock. We hold on for dear life. Explore and learn, sweet girl, and I promise that I will be there learning with you.