I had just turned 22 when Big Man was born. Josh and I were not quite to our first anniversary. I didn’t have close friends with kids and certainly didn’t spend a lot of time online looking up baby information. I just bathed in the joy of having him with me. He was so beautiful, so sweet, and I was absolutely in love. Instantly.
I delivered him, exhausted, at 10:30 at night. I let him go and allowed others to hold him because I was weak, hungry, and felt completely out of it. After I got my brain together, I held him and didn’t ever want to let him go. I held onto him all night long and almost the entire time we were in the hospital. I hated putting him down for any reason. I just wanted to hold him all the time.
It didn’t change when I went home. I didn’t want help with Big Man. I wanted help around the house so I could just sit there and hold him all day long. I enjoyed looking at his face, watching his mouth move, holding his little fingers and toes, touching his lips, ears, nose…I was just enamored with this tiny person who had come in and stolen my heart. I knew that I would do anything for this boy. He would have my heart forever.
It didn’t change when people left us. Once the visitors were gone, I still wanted to hold him all the time. Whether he was eating, sleeping, talking, playing…I wanted to hold him. I didn’t ever want to put him down. I loved nursing him until he fell asleep and I would just keep holding him during his entire nap. I would give up my entire day just to hold him.
It didn’t change when he turned one. I would cuddle him during nap time. He would fall asleep next to me on the couch, and I would brush his hair with my fingers. I would stroke his cheeks. I would kiss his forehead. He slept so soundly. So sweetly. So perfectly. I never wanted to let him go.
It changed when he got older. He stopped taking naps when he was 2. I quickly missed those moments when he would sleep in my arms. I missed that time that just he and I shared. Every once in a while he would get really tired and fall asleep on his little fire engine couch in the living room. Sometimes I would lay down next to him on the floor…or pick him up and hold him for the rest of his nap. I still had something, though. We would cuddle every morning in my bed even after Middle Man was born. Big Man would go to bed at night and I would say, “See you in the morning for…,” and he would say, “cuddles!” Oh, how I loved those moments!
Now those moments are gone. Big Man is 5 1/2 and doesn’t need his mommy to hold him at night. I have to wake up early to get ready to take him to school. So I am out of bed before he makes it to my room. He doesn’t take naps. He is growing up. He has traded in his stuffed animals and boppy (his blanket) for action figures and light sabers. Every once-in-a-while we get to cuddle on the couch while Middle Man and Little Man nap. I miss those moments.
When Big Man was a baby I would have been criticized for holding him too much…not letting him go. “He will never learn to nap on his own!” “He will never learn to sleep without you.” (He was, and is, a great sleeper). “He is going to be spoiled!” “You need to take that time to sleep/work/clean/cook…”
You know what? I don’t regret it. I don’t regret holding him all the time. I don’t regret all the dirty laundry piles that could have been washed. I don’t regret the meals I didn’t make and the lunches I didn’t eat. I don’t regret the naps I missed. Sure…those things can be important…even essential. But I don’t regret it because now I have 3 baby men in my house. I didn’t get those same luxuries with Middle Man and Little Man. Instead of getting to hold them during naps, I had to put them down to meet the needs of the other child(ren) in my home.
I mourn not being able to hold Little Man all afternoon as he sleeps. It is so sweet when he begins to fall asleep while nursing. This situation is rare since I specifically trained him to not associate nursing with sleeping. But it happens every now and again…and I want to just hold him and watch him sleep. I want to watch him suck his little thumb. I want to watch him dream and get sweaty, baby ear marks on my arms. And I can’t.
I had one shot. I took it. I loved it. I don’t regret it.