It was a long day. I was beyond grateful that all three kids had finally fallen asleep. I needed a moment, or two, or three, to just breathe. Gray was asleep in my arms, after a long nursing session. I laid her down, and she immediately stirred and started to whimper. I felt broken, tired, will she ever sleep? I picked her up, her sweet hand rested on my cheek, her face buried into my neck, and with a big sigh, she was asleep again. I smelled her, the sweet mix of milk and baby-ness that is just intoxicating. I thought about laying her down again, because I desperately needed some time to myself. I just couldn't do it. Instead, we walked back to the couch, and I just held her. I thought about how fast these five months have gone. How fast the next five will go, and the five after that, and the five after that. I tried to think back to Tee and Bam at this age. Why couldn't I picture every moment with them? Why isn't it so clear? I remember things, yes. A lot of it is general. How Tee would only sleep if I was next to her, how we spent our mornings giggling in bed together while Daddy was still at work. How Bam would spend hours awake, and we'd sit rocking night after night, his little body aching in pain from a gluten intolerance we didn't understand. How he'd put his sweet cheek next to mine, our faces facing the same direction. He never would put his head in my neck to cuddle like his sisters did, we were always cheek to cheek.
I guess I do remember more than I gave myself credit for, but I want to remember everything. Every second of their babyhood. Every moment, every breath, everything. I just can't grasp it. I know they were little once, but how did they grow so quickly? Why can't I picture them at this exact age and time as Gray is tonight? I feel like I'm losing them, slowly, like sand through my fingers, slipping away. All the memories. I can barely feel them, I can barely remember the smell of their sweet skin, the sound of their sweet laughter.
So I don't worry any more about that moment of alone time I so desperately had daydreamed about all day. All I think about is how I want this moment, this moment right here, to be the one I remember for the rest of my life.
So I soak her in.
Her chubby fingers and toes, ankles and thighs, wrists and cheeks. I kiss her head at least a hundred times, feeling her soft hair brush my lips. I can't help but smell her, close my eyes, and try to burn that smell into my memory. I want to be able to recall exactly what she smelled like. I let my body relax and try to imprint exactly how she feels against me, where she places her hands and arms, how her feet curl up under her, exactly how heavy she feels against me. I try and match my breathing to hers, in hopes that we can connect deeper than just my imagination. I hold her tight, eyes closed, and I force this moment to become important. I run it through my head several times, over and over, hoping that I won't ever forget.
This motherhood thing is so amazing. It's frustrating and scary and wonderful all tied into one. I can't believe time is passing by so quickly, each day and year more exciting than the last, and I look forward to what these people will become. But in that excitement, I don't want to lose the moments we shared of who they once were. Three tiny little people, completely different from each, completely and utterly loved by everything that I have, completely dependent on me to give them the life they deserve. It's sometimes too big to even wrap my mind around.
So, I won't. I'll just soak in this moment. This moment with my sweet Gray, wrapped in my arms, entwined in my soul for eternity. I will never forget how this feels.
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