Lately I have been cool about the fact that I have a three and a half old. Instead of mourning the fact that we are hurtling toward adulthood (as I did the first two years) I am enjoying the ride. I don’t fear the day she says” Mom, my room sucks. It’s sooo babyish!” or borrows my currently non-existent fabulous jewelry. I love watching the kid she has become. I am trying not to look back but today she fell asleep in my arms and lost it.
She was sick and despite being over half my height she crashed against me, crawled into my arms and thrashed, teary eyed, miserable. I went into mama automatic. Relaxed my body and deepened my breathing. Although I was totally uncomfortable on the hardwood floor with all of my (and her) body weight balanced on my elbow, I let her twist, turn, tear at her eyes and just held her. Astonishingly, she stopped fighting sleep and her body grew heavier. I sat breath after breath and waited. I kicked all of the toys out of my path and made it to the couch. I sank down and crammed a blanket under my left arm; leaned delicately back. Still she slept. I watched her face, hands, the length of her body and I cried.
Hot silent tears trickled down my cheeks. My body remembered every moment like this.
The hundreds of times I looked down, still as a stone. Her eyes did a serpentine slip slide before sleep. As a toddler she struggled to nap and only my milk and arms and stillness would carry her away. I can barely contain her in my arms now. Her legs seem to stretch on forever. I have not seen her nap this way in almost two years.
The house settles, shifts, and slows its breath too. Fire glows and snow falls. My tears stop.