Recently my friend sent me a quote she saw posted about how someday all moms put down their kids and never pick them back up (because they're now too old to want/need to be held). As a new-ish mom, (roughly 6 months in) this wrecked me. Yes, the baby stage is hard in many ways, but there are so many reasons I want to cling to it.
Right now my life is filled with craziness. Baby just started to crawl, so my days feel as if I am chasing a mini-tornado continually trying to keep him (and my house) safe. He's also teething, so this tornado is usually coupled with an inconsolable shrieking. There's also the ongoing sleepless nights, diaper blowouts, and spit up messes. It takes approximately 92 hours to leave our house thanks to feedings, diaper changes, outfit changes, and packing up enough stuff for a small army. In many ways this stage of life is exhausting and emotionally draining. I can understand why some people loathe the baby stage.
Yet, for all of the craziness, this stage is pretty great. I love when baby boy is nursing and he snuggles his little warm body so close to mine. I love the endless cuddles, in which he feels safe in my arms. I feel as if I can protect him from everything wrong in the world simply by picking him up and wrapping my arms around him.
He's at a stage where he gives grins out for everything and everyone. He doesn't know hate. I love that innocence and that his smile can light up a room. I want to hold onto that innocence and love for as long as possible. It isn't just the grins that get me. Right now he has the best belly laughs when I tickle him or play peek-a-boo. He squeals with such delight when I raise him over my head and we play "airplane." He hangs on my every word and wiggles excitedly when I sing a song or read a story. He is discovering so much and I love seeing his little mind work things out. I love when his eyes light up in excitement and he looks at me to celebrate his victory of figuring out something new. For now, I am his world and he is mine. There are often times he reaches his arms out for me and my husband is convinced his inner monologue is saying, "mama, mama, mama, mama!" Until I pick him up and hold him.
Yet, I know there is a day (which will come sooner than I think) when the incessant mama will morph to mommy and then mom and then "ugh, mooooom." There will be a day when my songs and stories and games won't elicit the same giggles and shouts of glee. In fact, some of my jokes and stories will likely elicit groans and eye rolls during the teenage years. There will come a day when the endless cuddles will only come every so often and then maybe not at all. There will come a day when I won't be his world. When someone else will become his world in a completely different way. And that's okay. That's what he's supposed to do. He's supposed to go out into the world and explore and learn and grow and love. But, it doesn't mean it will be easy. Along the way he will learn things like hate and prejudice. He will learn that not all people are good. He won't give out his smiles so readily. And at that point, I can't fix everything so easily for him. I won't be able to shield him away from the bad, just help him overcome it.
Someday, I'll stop picking him up because he'll be too big. Someday he won't need me like he needs me now. Someday he will keep discovering the world without me alongside him. Someday I won't know everything about him inside and out because someday we may not be able to see or talk to each other every single day. But, even though that someday is inevitable. Even though that someday is hard to imagine for this new mama, there is something about that someday that will always be true. Something I want to tell my baby, so he doesn't forgot it - ever. Someday, I may not physically pick you up, but I'll always be there to emotionally pick you up. To support you, love you, encourage you. Even on the days when you may not think you need me, I'll be here, in case you decide you do. I'll always have a hand to hold or arms to hug you. Just in case you decide you need me to be that source of comfort and love. I can always give you that, even when you're all grown up and on your own. Because, no matter how old, no matter how big, no matter where you are - you'll never stop being my baby.