It’s the early morning hours before the winter sun will rise. You are ten weeks new. I’m slowly becoming accustomed to our nighttime routine. Feedings every few hours, countless diaper changes, and lots of snuggles that make it all worth it. I’m reminded that in a few short weeks, you will be going to daycare while I return to work.
I worry how you will do in a new environment. Worry the care providers won’t know your little quirks. Worry I will miss not only the big milestones, but the little ones too. Worry because I’m your mother.
The past two mornings, our routine has been disrupted. After I lay you down to sleep, my work begins. I pick up the countless burp rags and pacifiers scattered throughout the house. I begin washing the bottles. Who would have known there could be as many as six parts to a four-ounce bottle? As I move onto the dirty dishes, I realize I need to lay down myself. The one piece of advice every new and seasoned mother told me was to rest when the baby rests. Just as I start to drift off to mommy-neverland, I hear your small little noises. Your yawn. Your coos. Your cry. You only slept an hour after your early morning feeding. As I pick you up and bundle you in a cozy, warm blanket, I kiss your cheeks and breathe you in. I don’t want to forget these small moments.
I slowly tip-toe out of the room so we do not disturb your dad. I grab a cup of coffee and take you out onto the couch and lay you on my chest. Within minutes, you are asleep. That hot cup of coffee sitting on the coffee table will have to wait. By the time I can get to it, it will be cold. These are those precious moments in the quiet hours of the morning that I will cherish forever.
I hold you in my arms, I watch the sun rise. My heart is full and I am content. Somehow, you know we only have a few more mornings like this. I can’t help but watch your little body rise and fall on my chest. I take in your tiny fingers curled around my finger as I know this will help you fall asleep. I keep your pacifier close in case you need that sense of security. But this morning, you don’t because you’re in my arms. I memorize every feature of your tiny little face. The way you pout your lower lip when you sleep. The way you smile in your sleep. The way you softly sigh after falling asleep. I know these things because I am your mother.
I’ll let that cup of coffee go cold. I’ll let that to-do list sit on the kitchen counter. I’ll let those dishes in the sink stay there. I know you won’t stay little forever so let me hold you just a little longer.