Thursday, March 18, 2010

Time

Since my first day as a stay at home mom, Evie and I have had a nap routine. We cuddle together in my bed until she falls asleep. For the most part, it's always been a nice time in our day. A few quiet moments together before Evie drifts to dreamland.

But when I was pregnant with Ethan, I started to worry about this routine. First of all, Evie was almost three years old. I knew she should be falling asleep on her own. And how would I manage to keep this up with an infant in the house?

The subject came up once with my doctor. I remember explaining to Dr. Jewell that I still held Evie or snuggled with her until she fell asleep. Instead of a reproachful look, he told me it was okay, that he rocked his kids to sleep until they were well past three. Then he gave me a little pearl of wisdom: Evie is never going to be mad that I helped her fall asleep. She is never going to grow up and say "Mom, you loved me too much."

So I decided then and there to keep our routine. If I needed to change things when Ethan arrived, I would deal with it then.

But I haven't. There has not been even a single day when I couldn't find the time to lay next to Evie under the covers. Lately, though, I have been rushing her. I want her to fall asleep quickly because Ethan could wake up any minute and need me. I want her to fall asleep quickly because I use the time when both of my children are sleeping to return phone calls, to empty the dishwasher, to catch up on Desperate Housewives while I fold a load of laundry.

Because of this, our routine hasn't been very nice lately. I save minutes by refusing to sing to her. I cut corners and don't tell a story or read from the journal I kept when she was a baby. I growl at her to be still, to close her eyes, to stop talking. And as soon as she falls asleep, I sneak out.

But yesterday, the thought occurred to me that I was changing what used to be one of the best parts of our day. I thought about wanting a baby with all my heart, and not being able to have one. At that time, I would have given anything to be in bed with my daughter, whispering the story of how Daddy proposed or laughing when she randomly said "My hands look a lot like dog hands."

Yesterday, I put my face close to hers. I smelled her hair, her strawberry-shampoo-girly-scent. When she rolled over, I kissed her little back. I put my arm around her until I felt her breathing become even and slow. Still, I stayed with her. I watched her long eyelashes flutter in her sleep.

And I thanked God for her, for this time with her.

I am going to do my best not to wish these days away. I won't wish for the day she can fall asleep on her own. I won't wish for the day when I'm not slowed down by buckling two kids into their car seats. I won't wish for the day I'm not picking up Barbies and Crayons and blocks from the floor. I won't wish for the day when Ethan can drink milk from a sippy cup or go on the potty. I won't wish for the day Evie can brush her own hair.

I will savor these days, because I already know they don't last. But I will enjoy them for as long as I can.

4 comments:

Ruth said...

So beautifully written, Sarah. I, like you, had wanted a child so badly but was not able. When we finally were blessed with Allison I wanted to cherish every second with her but sometimes things got in the way, like a sick husband. And now she is almost 16 and already has her own car (but can't get her license until the end of June). The times aren't as frequent now but I think that because you do cuddle at nap time that Evie will come crawl in with you when she is older and when you least expect it. Allison will come crawl in with me for a bit and I think I am in Heaven. It is a gift every time. Love to you all!

Fiona said...

That's so lovely. Tonight our friends got their daughter (via adoption) out of nowhere. Just a phone call and Pouf! So I've got new babies, and much-wanted babies, and sleeping babies (or not!) on the brain. Thanks for reminding me how beautiful it all is.

Alexandra said...

beautiful beautiful

and it sounds like you have a great doctor! :) those are hard to find.

Prasti said...

*sniff* this is sweet and such a great reminder. time goes too fast! and how cool that your pediatrician was very supportive of your choice :)