(A crappy iphone photo but I love it)
It's strange to think that there will be a time when it won't be completely normal for Phoenix and I to be touching all day and night. Between morning snuggles, nursing, reading books in my lap, holding him on my hip as he watches me cook dinner, holding hands as we take a walk, baby massage after bath time, rocking him to sleep, and all the hugs and kisses all day long there is very little space between us. There were so many times during these past 16 months that being that close all the time felt suffocating. Obviously I loved all the closeness but between non stop nursing, co sleeping, and Phoenix's very strong attachment to me, I felt like I never had my body to myself. I went from carrying him around on the inside to carrying him and supporting him on the outside. And it was absolutely my choice. I'm not complaining about it. I feel so grateful that I've been able to (and still do) nurse him and have all this time together. I know there are other mothers who would do anything to be together.
16 months has proven to be the best. He is so adventurous, so curious, and SO loving. The hugs out of no where, the slobbery kisses as he's falling asleep at night...they slay me. Lately, bedtime has been my favorite. Which is a faaaaaar cry from the struggle it was the last few months. These days, after bath, lotions, and some quiet play time. P let's me know he's ready for bed by taking my hand and leading me to the bedroom (always around 7), we sing the goodnight song to papa, mama, and Phoenix. He puts his little arms out for each of us to squeeze him and with a big grin, leans in for a giant kiss. He loves this routine. After that, papa leaves, we put on his sleep sheep, turn out the lights, and have our time. We lay in bed and he nurses as I rub his little head and sing our song. After he's done, he rolls off my lap and snuggles into me. He takes my hand and puts it on his belly because he likes when I rub his little chest/belly area. And so I do. I quietly tell him about our day...from morning until bed time. What we did, and the adventures we went on...the friends we saw and all the sirens we heard. Sometimes he chimes in, sometimes he just listens. And every night he rolls over to face me, half asleep, and gives me a series of kisses with a sleepy grin. Heart explodes. This is what I'm talking about. How is it possible that one day this won't be happening nightly? I don't like to think about it.
Feeling his tiny ribs as his chest rises and falls...hearing his small, slow breath as he drifts off to sleep...and feeling him cuddle into me as I join him in bed...these are snippets of this precious time that I hope to never forget. I know that one day I will be longing for his little hand to hold mine and for that slobbery mouth to kiss mine. His touch will be reserved for greetings, birthday wishes, and thank yous. I know this all isn't happening tomorrow but I feel like I can see the cold reality that lies ahead and I don't like it one bit.
For now, I will cherish each little request to be held. Where as once I would do anything to have some alone time...I now realize that our days like this are numbered. I was feeling suffocated by the endless physical need from my child...now I want to give him more. I want to hold on to his hand a little bit longer before he runs off to explore, kiss his face a little bit more while he still lets me, and blow raspberries on his tummy while it's still funny. Let's not even begin talking about nibbling on those chunky thighs. I could write whole novels about my love of those thighs.
For today I will hold on a little bit tighter, and hope he will too.