It’s getting late, and I know I should have already put you down. But, your giggles make me think otherwise as I finish getting you dressed. Your room is getting darker by the minute and the sound of the white noise machine bounces off the walls. You are unusually chipper tonight, after a long bath with big sis, where you splashed so much you soaked the bathroom floor. Your hair is still slightly wet, your skin smells fresh, and your jammies are the perfect finishing touch. We sit down, and I throw your favorite blanket on top of us, and settle in for bedtime. You fit perfectly in my lap, and your head fits perfectly in the crook of my arm. Lord, don’t let me forget nights like these.
I give you your bottle, or rather you give yourself your bottle, and I rock you just a little bit longer. Once empty, you throw your bottle to the side, and look up at me as if to say, “I’m done!” I hear it bounce on the floor, and I make a mental note to grab it when I leave. You promptly sit up, and lean over onto me, your head resting on my chest, with your legs sprawled sideways across mine. I pick you up, facing me, and lay you back down, adjusting the blanket, your head falling heavy on my shoulder, as I pat your back to burp you. After a good burp, I rub the sides of your back a little deeper, and you convulse in giggles. You giggle so hard I think you might lose your paci, but alas you somehow keep it in, barely grasping it between lips and your barely-there two new teeth. You lay your head back down, and I squeeze you so tight I think you might squirm, but you don’t squirm, and I savor every second of this rare stillness. It’s getting late though, and I should really put you down. Lord, don’t let me forget moments like these.
You pop back up – a moment that felt like an eternity, probably just a few seconds, and you begin your wiggly lap-climb routine. You try your best to straighten out your legs, standup in my lap, with your hands out in front of you, as if you’re going to climb up and over my shoulders, using me as a ladder. With my hands firmly supporting you and holding you up in front of me, I allow you to collapse a little onto me, so I can ever so sneakily get my mouth under your chin and around your neck for some kisses. You break out in another fit of giggles, and I can tell Daddy forgot to carefully wash your chin roll because it’s still slightly sticky from dinner. I hold you in this position, not letting you move or wiggle away, and kiss you repeatedly around your neck, and you laugh hys-terically. Who knew you were so ticklish here? I give you a chance to catch your breathe, and I can’t help but start laughing too, and at the same time, tears start rolling down my face. This must be what Heaven is like. It’s getting late though, and I should really stop and put you down. But Lord, don’t let me forget feelings like these.
I pull you in for another tight squeeze, probably dropping tears on your jammies. I smell your hair again, pinch your thighs, rub your back, and tell you repeatedly how much I love you, and how badly I wished you didn’t have to grow up. You become increasingly more squirmy, and keep wanting to stand up in my lap, so I toss the blanket aside and stand up with you in your nursery. We sway side to side, and you let your head fall on my shoulder once again, the bulk of your weight resting heavy on my arm. It’s darker than it was before, but still light enough to see you clearly. I kiss the side of your face by your ear, and rub your back in circles, and actually feel like my hands are superglued to you. Like no matter how hard I try, I just can’t let go. The idea races through my head that I can’t imagine not remembering this one day. That I can’t imagine growing old, and losing my mind, like our grandparents have, and losing all of my precious memories from when my babies were babies. It’s getting late though, and I should really stop and put you down. But Lord, don’t let me forget thoughts like these. Please, don’t let me forget.
It’s finally time to lay you down, so after making myself loosen my grip, turning you around to kiss your squishy cheek one more time (or maybe three times!), and once again moving the long hairs away from your eyes, I put you in your crib and you plop down on your belly, bouncing slightly, stretching out your limbs like you’re finally relaxed. You grab one paci in each hand, and I rub your back one more time. You let out one more sweet sound, a partial giggle, and I tell you, “Sweet dreams, my love!” before heading towards the door. I hear you reposition yourself into the perfect spot, then close the door and walk downstairs. I wipe tears from my eyes as I head down the stairs, and think to myself again, Lord, don’t let me forget nights like these.
Mamas, I don’t know if you have nights like these, but I just had to write it down. It was one of those bedtimes where I thought, I love him so much I could literally eat him up! A lot of nights I’ll catch myself selfishly thinking, “If I can just get him to bed, I can go do xyz” or “If I can get him down by this time, I’ll be free to go here and do this.” But this time was different, and I caught myself wanting to stay in his room forever, rather than rush out. He just melts my heart and I cannot even fathom him growing into a young man. He will always be my baby boy. Always! And I hope I never forget the nights when he was this little, giggling the sweetest giggles and snuggling up next to me, giving me so much joy that I can’t help but cry. When he’s a teenager, an adult, when he’s married, when he’s a father – Lord, don’t ever let me forget.
He will be one in less than two weeks, and I’m just not ready to let go of his babyhood.