My heart bursts with pride and excitement; yet selfishly, I miss every single milestone that I anxiously wished away for you. Not because I hoped for this, but because us parents have a way of wanting to hit milestones and witness our children’s achievements. I can only imagine that veteran parents feel this same way as they witness their child walk across the stage to accept a diploma or walk down that beautiful flower lined aisle to say, “I do!” I understand that the magnitude of my example is quite possibly far more dramatic and impactful than each tiny victory you and I have celebrated, like graduating from rice cereal to baby food, weaning from a bottle, crawling then walking, learning new words and even this inevitable potty training. While in the big grand scheme of life, these achievements may seem minor, to you and I, they really have been huge.
And, yet I did like many other mommies warn in retrospect. They prepped me that time would fly. I don’t know why I did not listen. Maybe I thought I was exempt or maybe the daily grind was too much and I just felt I would be in this shirt stained, sleepless cycle forever.
Yet, two nights stand between you and the new number you so sweetly proclaim with those two tiny fingers.”Two!” I encouraged, as I bent your other three fingers down, practicing and practicing until you now do on your own.
You just absorb so much and our new norm is me watching you gain your independence and you partaking in every big or small success. Eating with a fork and opening your own cheese stick. You focus as you try to poke the straw into the ridiculously small juice box pouch hole, place toothpaste on your own toothbrush and dress yourself. Sometimes it is your pants that you are stretching onto your arms, but you are relentlessly trying. I hold you back for mere convenience of time, but mostly because I don’t want to let you go.
These darn two sleeps.
Unlike your growing wardrobe and impeccable fashion (okay, my opinion is biased) while shopping is so fun, I can’t help but sigh as I fold and pack away all your now too small clothes. The change of each season, means a new container for storing and more of my tears to be shed. As I search online and in clothes racks for size 2T, I secretly admit to opening a well-packed container of well-worn clothes and deeply smelling your tiny 3 month old sleeper for a scent of your newborn self. Although, it is gone and instead smells like clothes that have been packed away in plastic for much too long, I indeed can mentally still smell that comforting scent of new and mine as I inhale the material.
And, now there are two sleeps.
You still let me rock you, thank God. And, you hold on so very tight. While I may be exhausted, I still find it endearing that you still call out to me when you awake and are scared in the middle of the night. Sometimes in the darkness of your little room, I close my eyes and remember back to two Decembers ago. When you helplessly needed me for every little move and I, nervous I might break you, held you more in my arms than I laid you down. The sleepless nights and zombie-like states, when I hadn’t really eaten or showered for days, in these quiet moments now, I wish the old days back. It was a time when, I wished for the old me. Where had she gone? What had motherhood done to her? I longed for sleep and routine. But, now with the glow from your dresser Christmas tree, I see your beautiful profile and watch your lips perch as you dream and I squeeze you tight. It is now that I wish back some of the hardest nights of my life, knowing as quickly as one and now two years have passed, so too will our time that lies ahead.
Two more sleeps, precious girl, from one years-old then two, until the clock strikes midnight and I start over and countdown all these sleeps once more.