A Thousand Years

Ethan ready for sledding

You know how sometimes you look at a picture of your child and your heart does that thing where it tries to burst out of your chest? This photo does that for me.

I’m not sure what it is—maybe it’s that he looks like a Gerber baby in this photo or perhaps because he was so willing to let us put him in his new sled without knowing quite what it was all about—but I look at this photo and I think, “My god I love this kid.”

This morning Ethan sat with me while I had a late breakfast (three cheers for weekend sleep-ins) and we sang.

“I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more”

I often sang this song to him while we danced around the living room when he was really small because I like it and it made him smile. I had forgotten about it until I heard it in a mall yesterday and I thought it was time we listened to it again.

“And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more”

I looked at him while we sang and thought, How could I have ever thought you’d never come to me? I’m just still so very grateful for him – my small, blond Gerber baby with the big laugh. I’ve loved him for so long.

(And PS: He loved the sled.)

 

I’ve joined Greta from Gfunkified as co-host of #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. Link up below!

GFunkified

Baby No More

We were in the living room yesterday – Rich, Ethan, and I. I got up to go into the kitchen, which is still in view, and Ethan—until then happily sitting with Rich—burst into tears. Big, fat crocodile tears to accompany the short intakes of breath that merely served, it appeared, to give him enough lung power to wail.

I sort of knew how he felt.

wet baby hairHe has, quite suddenly and for no reason that I can ascertain, developed a bit of separation anxiety. Always a mama’s boy, he has turned especially clingy. If I had apron strings I’m sure he would tie himself to them. And part of me would like it—does like it—because he is my baby. But not for long.

He will turn one in exactly a month, and the thought causes panic to rise in my chest. It makes me teary. Literally, as in needing-Kleenex-when-I-think-about-his-birthday-as-I’m-driving-down-the-street teary.

I don’t remember feeling this way about Connor’s first birthday. But then again most things feel different this time around.

Ethan gave me the new-mom experience I wanted. He gave me smiles and cuddles and belly laughs. He happily allowed himself to be toted around, whether on day trips outside the city or simply to the mall. He showed me that if you work at it, sometimes babies are pretty good at going to sleep on their own. (And sometimes they’re not.)

first hair cutConnor gave me my mama badge, to be sure, but Ethan gave me peace. He made some of that stuff from last time that made me hate myself feel okay again.

When I go into the kitchen, I always come back to him, the same mama who left only moments before. But every day the baby he was is disappearing before my eyes. The little boy he’s becoming will be wonderful too, I know, but I’m just not ready. So when he cries for me I reach for him and hold on.

A Valentine for Ethan

Dear Ethan,with-mom-4-months

I held you close tonight after feeding you, your head resting on my shoulder as you slept. You snored, as you often do when you settle back into sleep, and it’s in these night moments that I’m aware of how short a time you’ll be this small.

When you wake in the wee hours of the morning, or when day breaks and I peel myself from the bed, I wonder why it is that babies don’t sleep as much as their parents would like. But during that first wake-up, often before I’ve gone to sleep and when it’s quiet and dark and still, I cherish the moments I get to spend with your small, sleepy form.

Warm sometimes and cool others, your cheek is soft against mine as you lean against me while I try to coax a late-night burp. You tuck into me, your head to my neck, and I feel your soft breath. Your head smells like apricot baby oil and I inhale deeply.

I don’t want to put you down, in those moments when you once again feel part of me, but of course I must. You melt onto my shoulder, but only for a time, and then you need to be left to sleep in your bed.

So instead I lie and listen to the sounds of you. The snores and the sighs and the soft breathing.

And I breathe with you, because whether you are physically with me or not you are part of me and always will be.

Sleep, my babe, and I will see you when next you wake.

Love,
Mama

 

***

I was going to repost my valentine to Rich and Connor this year and then I realized that Ethan wasn’t in it. I thought about doing a second volume to incorporate him, but then when I was putting him to bed last night this appeared.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

The Love App

Waaaay back when the iPhone first came out I remember telling Rich that I couldn’t see why anyone would want one. All those functions and silly things? Messy! I liked my straightforward little cell phone.

Yeah, clearly if there were an app for eating one’s words I’d have had to download it onto my precious iPhone.

I finally got an iPhone just over a year ago when I quit my job before we moved and had to (got to?) turn in my work BlackBerry. (I wasn’t sorry to see it go.) One of the things I love most about having an iPhone is how much Rich and I text each other. He often sends me pictures if he’s out with one of the boys – I have pictures of Connor sleeping in odd places, in front of Christmas displays, at the dentist, you name it. And Rich, in turn, has received lots of texts from me with pictures of Ethan sleeping. (What? He’s cute when he sleeps.)  [Read more...]

To Hold You While You Sleep

Babies don’t ask for much. Oh sure, when we’re tired or can’t figure out what’s wrong or just plain don’t have enough hands it feels as though they want the world. As though their needs are the only thing that matters. As though we’re never again going to be able to do what we want (or need) to do without worrying whether a small person needs something first.

That’s the reality of being a parent. We have these small people and they have needs, and those needs that feel at times like so much to ask are really pretty basic.

They need to be fed. They need to be clothed and kept warm. They need some stimulation and for someone to promise to teach them the ways of the world.

I look at the smallest person in my life and I know that he doesn’t even really know what he needs. He just looks to me to give it to him. I can fix what’s uncomfortable and most of the time whatever that is is all he really needs fixed.

sleeping-on-dadHe was fussy the other day and I knew he needed to sleep. But sleep is so hard when you’re a mere 10 weeks old. Sleep, which we cherish as parents, is not something that comes easily when we’re this new. So we look to our mamas to fix it.

I picked him up and nestled him in close to my body and held him tight. All the tension in his small frame released, suddenly, like a drain had been pulled so that all the angst could just swirl away. Within seconds he was snoring.

He was like that again today; for him, mornings are hard. And today it was dad who was there to pick him up and give him the place and the space to sleep. Because sometimes it’s really that simple.

Sometimes all we need is for someone to hold us while we sleep.

 

I wrote this last week (and then didn’t publish it) before the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut. I wasn’t going to post it this week but then I decided I would and, in doing so, count my blessings.