I can’t remember the last time we rocked. It’s been so long since I’ve held her in my arms, just the two of us. During those early days of long nights and longer days, I couldn’t see past our evening ritual. Dinner, bath, rocking, signing and finally to bed in that old brown crib with purple sheets.
I thought those days would never end, but I knew better.
We spent hours together in our first home, just the two of us, our rocking chair and the hum of a lullaby on the radio. Her sweet smile filled my tired heart with such joy.
It still does.
But she’s 5 now. 5 ½ if you ask her.
“Not 5, Mama,” she’ll say. “I’m 5 1/2 – almost 6.”
She’s nearly as tall as her big sister. Her tiny legs are growing strong now, and someday soon, she’ll be taller than me.
What a strange day that will be.
She’s independent too. Our evenings are spent reading books not rocking in that old hand-me-down chair. It sits downstairs, waiting and lonely, hoping someone will come rest their weary body on its worn out cushion.
I think it misses her, too.
Last Sunday, I saw a glimpse of the baby I once knew. She looked at me in church and asked to be picked up. Normally I would scowl at this request.
“You’re too big,” I’d say. “5 year-olds aren’t meant to be carried.”
Not this day. I picked up her long body and she didn’t squirm. She rested her head on my shoulder and we swayed back and forth to the music. I didn’t care how we looked. I didn’t care that my arm was going numb.
I held her, until I couldn’t anymore.
When the song was over, she asked to put down.
“Thank you for letting me hold you,” I smiled to my sweet baby girl.
“Sure, Mama,” she smiled back. “It helped me see to the front of the room. And it helped my tights feel better.”
Of course – her tights. She had been fidgeting with them all morning. My arms on her legs must have helped them feel more comfortable. That’s why she didn’t move. That’s why she stayed in my arms for so long.
But for me, well, it meant so much more. I know those minutes were some of the last moments I’ll ever hold by baby girl.
It wasn’t in our old rocking chair and it wasn’t just the two of us. But in that moment, she was my baby and I was her mama. And she needed me to hold her just a bit longer.
I needed her, too.
I’m thankful for that morning. And now I know the last time we rocked together.