That moment, a very quiet moment, when I hold him close to me and both my arms are wrapped around him. His head is on my shoulder and his chest gently vibrates against mine. I feel his sweet breath at the side of my neck along with soft tiny arms clinging onto me.
Everywhere is quiet and still. My chest rises and falls. His chest rises and falls. I think he’s asleep, but he lifts his head and turns to look at me. Contented, he rests his head back on my shoulder and falls back into a deep beautiful sleep, safely cuddled in my arms.
This one is it. This simple quiet moment is easily one of my life’s most divine. If I’ll have to pick a few handful moments to relive over and over again, this would be one of them.
I’m in so much awe of this tiny human being and everything about him. I love that I can hold the entirety of him with my hands, spend countless minutes inhaling his smell, and whisper gently to his ears. As many times as I want.
The marvelous feeling of motherhood has existed since the beginning of time. I wonder how all the other moms contained their wildly beating hearts. I wonder how they managed all of these growing emotions that almost threaten to explode. I wonder how they handled this–this love that is so immense it reaches the brink of poignancy and pain.
I wonder if all the other moms feel as sad as I sometimes feel. I already mourn the day that he will be too big for me to carry. The day he will wriggle out of my hugs. The day he chooses to be on his own. The day his eyes will resent my rules. The day he will hurt and I can’t help him, or he won’t let me. The day he misunderstands my love. The day he seeks to be as independent as I tried to be. The day he forgets that he is my light and love and joy.
I’m going through an overpowering transition, an overhaul of wants, a tectonic shift in my thinking, and a crazy circus of emotions. I thought I would be more square and pragmatic and that I would have a stronger control over how this new life unravels.
Motherhood is happening to me as it does: all-consuming, life-changing, and at once both so real and so unreal.
Minuscule longings remain. Longings for my old freedom and strength, my corporate rockstar life, my busy and spontaneous days and nights in fancy hair and heels.
Like many new moms, I’ve neglected designer clothes for worn down dresses. I’ve traded my fierce independence to be a slave to a little one’s beck and call. Life, as it was, is currently on hold. But this madness of a love makes it unthinkable to resume a life that is obviously forever changed. No, I am not going back. Instead, I am about to restart.
When I was pregnant with Bo, I imagined going back to work in roughly 1.5 to 2 months’ time from giving birth. As I hold him now, I admit to the feeling of never wanting to let go.
I was all about Lean In and the empowerment of women to do multiple things with neither discrimination nor judgment. I look at my baby and I can’t push away this feeling of holding on for much longer, of actually staying right where I am a little longer: at home nursing him round the clock and cherishing this limited time that I know will go by fast.
When I’m ready to resume my career, I can. When time just passes me by and suddenly, I want to hold, nurse, and enjoy my baby again but he has long outgrown my cuddles, there is sadly no going back.
They say not to blink for it will go by so swiftly. So I’m holding on for one more precious day after the next. It will only be a couple more months when I can’t delay being away from my life outside of home much longer.
So for now, I will laugh at the coffee and meals that have gone cold and the nonexistent me time. I will imagine my 5-minute showers are more luxurious than they actually are. I will embrace these days of messy ponytails and unmanicured nails. I’ve been peed on twice in one morning and my shoulders smell of and are stained with both drool and breastmilk. My eyes are deeper, their shadows are darker.
But while my baby’s arms and legs are wrapped around my chest now, I know, I just know, that I’m at my happiest.