...The painted ponies go up and down...Oh Joni, how right you are. I am right now listening to my daughter, E, turn on her mobile, then turn it off, then on, then off. She is lulling herself to sleep. Yup. That's right. She no longer needs or wants her mommy to cuddle her to sleep. She is an independent woman, don't you know! At the ripe age of almost ten months, she's cut the cord *um. again.
Recently and certainly in the months ahead, I have to grasp this truth. My baby is growing up and one day will no longer be my baby. She's already so big! She's changed so much! This is just the beginning of my blossoming child and I already feel the sentiment that I can't return I can only look behind from where we came...
And we've already come so far. Once she was a girl who spent hours a day cuddled in so close to me, she and I watching bad soaps on t.v. Now we no longer cuddle during the day, she's too busy exploring the world! When I try to pick her up, to hold her back (just a little) and keep her close--my attempt to retain a little piece of baby E--she wrestles from my grasp, anxious to get out there - free and on her own.
The CD that plays during her nighttime routine has not changed since her birth. While it plays now, I listen to its familiar sound and lament the days when she would lay there happily nestled into me, needing to be nursed or fed a bottle to settle her into a nice sleep. As the same music plays, it amazes me how everything else has changed. She now rushes to finish her bottle; she abruptly pushes it aside when she's done and sits up as if to say, 'kay mom, put me to bed now already. And my heart breaks just a little.
Soon I will head back to work and someone else will be raising my child during the week. My little girl and I have been nearly inseparable since her birth. We have our own rhythm. I hate the idea of someone stepping in and disturbing it. I won't be the only one to whom she turns for comfort or direction. Sigh...and soon enough, there will be even more directors helping to mold and guide my little E.
Right now, though, she is still mine. I am trying to hold on tight to the little baby bits that she retains. The moments when she's tired and forgets her determined independence and leans into her mommy for a brief moment. When she cries and searches for me, needing me to pick her up and hold her. I try to pause life in these moments, because I know that, sooner than I realize, she will be off dreaming her own big dreams. And I will have to stand back and watch as she leaves my arms for good.
While I realize she is growing up and I know there is a fine line between holding on and letting go, at least I can hold on to this: as long as I'm living, my baby she'll be.*
*Robert Munsch Love you forever.