My greatest Mama moments all seem to come to me during the bedtime routine. More specifically, during the "rock my baby to sleep" part of the routine. NOT the "sing one more song to my 3 year old" part. That part stinks. Tangent: Sylvia will have a wildly successful career as a hostage negotiator. The skill with which she executes the "one more song" trick is remarkable. During our nightly standoff, she pulls out all the stops...manners, cuddles, smiles...the girl oozes cuteness because she knows I'm a sucker for the mushy stuff. Suddenly, I find myself singing "Hush Little Baby" for the four MILLIONTH time in my life and I want to gauge my eyes out. I collapse on the couch and look around for my medal or my trophy or my giant gold belt, of which there are none, because what I just accomplished really isn't that great. So a glass of wine will have to be a good enough substitute.
I was rocking Margot to sleep tonight BY ACCIDENT because she was so tired that she fell asleep halfway through her feeding. I promise that I try to put her down drowsy but awake so she can fall asleep on her own. I also promise that I read her books every night before bed so she turns out super smart and I can't be blamed for her inability to read in kindergarten. I also promise that I sing her the same song every night to trigger the "go to sleep" switch in her tiny baby brain, but let's face it. All of this nonsense is completely useless. I have no idea if this "routine" is helping her or confusing her or turning her into a serial killer. There's just no way to know! What I DO know is that SOMETIMES she falls asleep in my arms, so I put her up on my shoulder to burp her, and she STILL doesn't wake up, which means I get to rock and snuggle and soak up every sweet, blessed inch of her teeny tiny body. I get to put my face next to her soft, round, pudgy, squishy cheek and sway back and forth for as many minutes as I want to. And oooooooohhhhhhhhh my goodness. Euphoria. Rocking that baby is like a drug. No wonder people do it every night in reckless abandon - routines be damned!
But here's the important thing:
Tonight, I found myself letting my brain wander. I rambled through my usual daydreams - what life will be like years from now. I could feel her body growing in my hands and I imagined her dark, wavy hair and her deep brown eyes. I thought about life's defining moments and all of her firsts. Steps, words, days of school, and so on. Then, like I usually do, I remembered what life was like before her. How every moment led up to HER. She's here. Because we made her from us. Somehow she is a whole being made up of our halves, and somehow she's completely different from the first being we made. Amazing. But THEN, my mind wandered in to new territory. Something I had not ever thought about before, at least not when thinking about Margot.
What would life be like without her?
My heart began to ache beyond anything I've felt in a long time. Up until very recently, it felt like we were still trying to fit Margot into our routines. In to our little family of three. Trying to figure out how to mange two kids at bedtime, or mealtime, or mornings or afternoons...it's been a challenge. But somehow, between the holidays and illnesses and play dates, she just....fit. Suddenly, she's here, in her own spot, in her own way, and now I just can't imagine how in the world we would function without her. What else would I be doing right now? What did I do before she was here? How could I ever find happiness or wholeness or peace without her? And what in the WORLD am I going to do when she's too big to rock to sleep?
I can tell you this - if she gets as good at bedtime negotiations as The Big One, I'm toast. Too bad this girl can't just stay little. *Sigh.* Growing up is so tough.