joe cried tonight when i put him down

Tonight, we did our bedtime routine, and then something remarkable happened.

Joe cried when I set him in his crib.
I cannot remember the last time he did that (except for in illness).
And since Joe does not snuggle or generally cry to be held, when I shut his bedroom door and heard him cry, "Mooooommmmmyyyy", I went back in and held him.

I sat in the rocking chair that we have sat in hundreds of times in the past year, and I let him snuggle into me and settle into sleep.

Tomorrow, Joe will wake up a 1 year old. And I won't have a baby anymore. I will be the mother of a one year old. So it seemed fitting that we would close out our year with this gesture, with this moment, with this gentle reminder that we are on the eve of the next stage.

I don't normally lean nostalgic, but this has hit me hard.

I held Joe tonight and thanked God for his life, I prayed for his future, I prayed for wisdom as a parent, and for the millionth time in the past year, my heart burst with love and thankfulness.

I felt the familiar relaxing and twitching of his little body, and I committed the moment to memory - every sound, warmth, sensation, smell, and closeness. These days of babyhood are so precious, because they are so few. I remind myself of what Jen Hatmaker wrote about children growing older - parenting is not an exercise in scarcity. Fear not, mommas with babies turning into toddlers, who turn into children, who turn into teens, who turn into adults; for the best is yet to come.

Tomorrow, I will be the mother of a one year old.
And the best is yet to come.

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