This morning I sat in the dark with my 2.5-year-old daughter rocking her slowly in a big comfy chair while feeling her warm cheeks against my chest as we both got a slow start to our morning. She just laid there peacefully wither her lovey as I sniffed her freshly washed toddler curls; soaking it all in realizing there can’t be too many of these days left. We’ve decided she is our last baby and while I feel at peace with the decision, I’m going to miss this so much. It can be overwhelming to feel so needed all the time but let’s be honest…it can also feel really darn good sometimes. When will the last time be that I rock her in that chair? When will she push me away when I try to stroke her hair? The truth is I don’t know so I have to savor these moments as the baby years slowly slip through my fingers.
My daughter is a fiercely independent 2-year old who takes great pride in doing things herself and not needing help. My heart bursts with pride when I see her conquer new challenges, persisting when she fails and learning from her mistakes. Honestly, at times I forget she is 2.5 as her demeanor and vocabulary can make her seem so much older. But then in an instant, she is my baby again as she wants comfort from a skinned knee or cries for me as I leave to go run an errand. The other day she was being quite fussy and seemed to not want anything I suggested, in frustration, I said “What do you want?” and she responded “Me want you” as she stretched her arms out to me. I had tears in my eyes holding her and just sitting on the couch just being present with her. It’s amazing how simple words like “me want you” can stop you in your tracks and suddenly give you perspective.
I’m excited to see what the future holds for my kids as they grow older and develop more of their lives outside the family. As they get older our relationship can be more complex and deeper on many levels but I have a strong sense that not being needed as much will be hard. I have so many photos and keepsakes stored but I wish I could bottle up the sweet feelings and sensations of this stage. I’d keep a bottle of that feeling when she instantly stops crying the moment I hold her, her bright shiny eyes and uncontrollable laughter she is playing with her big brother, and of course every single moment I’ve held her in that rocking chair with her head on my chest. But since I know of no such bottling services, I’ll have to settle for writing these thoughts down on paper and taking an obscene amount of pictures.