Today as I held you in my arms I could to feel the warmth of my tears tumbling down my cheeks. I was so lost in the moment that I didn’t even realize at first that I was crying. It wasn’t a full body cry, or even a strong steady cry, it was as if my tears were a way of showing my true deep down feelings of longing for a bit more of your innocence to hold onto for just a bit longer. The tears slide down my cheeks slowly and without consistency but still they came. I don’t know what it is about holding you so close to me that makes me ache so badly. Is it the fact that you are growing so fast and I can feel the years slipping through my fingers? Is it the mourning at the loss of all of those many times you fell asleep on my lap when you were a baby after you just finished eating, or when you were scared and needed my arms for comfort, all those many days when you were sick and my lap was the only place you could fall asleep? Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t know how many more years of these cuddles I will get. One? Two? Or for my oldest maybe only weeks?
Where did the time go? I know I lost track of it somewhere between the diapers, potty training, sick days, messes, laughter, meal cooking, silliness, sleepless nights, tear filled moments of despair and exhaustion…. Some how you went from being this tiny frail baby who needed me for everything to little independent mini me’s of your father and I. When did you stop being a baby and become a 9,7,5 and 4-year-old? Somewhere along the way you went and grew up a little bit and stopped needing me so much for the physical things. Maybe that’s why I cherish the cuddles so much, because it’s a sign to me that you still need me in every other way. You need me emotionally, spiritually, mentally and in a way still a bit physically because you still want to be close to me. As I hold you I try to take it all in. The softness of your skin, the way your breath comes out slowly and in steady patterns, as if your body knew it needed these cuddles all along, the way you smell, the small little features I never want to forget, the way your head fits perfectly into the crook of my neck and on my shoulder. I hold on as long as I can. I’m never the first to let go and I dread the moment you will decide you have gotten all the re-energized cuddles you needed, and pull away. It’s as if my arms are the recharging station for your soul and when you have gotten all you need you go about your day again oblivious to how much that little moment meant to me.
One day you will understand, when you have kids of your own and you watch them grow at a speed you never thought possible in the chaos of the first few months as a new parent. Why did no one warn me that I would have these feelings? I hate to think of how old you are getting because that only reminds me of how many years I have left with you before you forge your way out into the world. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved and cherished every stage (even the hard ones) and I know I will love and cherish those stages as you get older as well. But I’ve never been a mom to you then. I’ve never parented a preteen or a teenager or even a school aged girl yet. It’s all so foreign to me, and foreign can be scary at times. When the oldest of you was born and placed in my arms and I was now in charge of raising this tiny new person, I never imagined what having a 9-year-old would be like… That was so far in the future that I couldn’t even imagine it. Yet here we are, the future has arrived and I can’t help but wonder if I did enough to get you here. Did I hold you enough? Or cuddle you enough? Did I cheer you on and help you grow as you should? I remember the mom guilt back in the days when you were still so little, I was always wondering if I was doing enough… Now the mom guilt is a bit different and I regret not having cherished every moment more. I know that’s virtually impossible sometimes in the chaos we call life but you better believe I am going to cherish every second of those cuddles and hugs, because maybe for you it’s a just a moment to feel refreshed, or to dry your tears but to me those few seconds or minutes holds all the moments of the past and all the hopes on the future. I never let a cuddling opportunity pass me by where I don’t just savor every second because I never know when it will be my last.
It’s as if your cuddles are a gateway back into the past and a reminder that the future is just ahead. So many thoughts race through my mind when you climb into my arms, thoughts of what once was and what will become and then just as suddenly as those thoughts begin, they are gone, swept away in the moment. Time stands still, even if it’s just for a second. The world around us has stopped and it’s just you and me, linked together as mother and child and I know that no matter what is happening in the world around us, that nothing can take away this moment, and the peace that is found in your warm embrace. My arms long for you when you are not in them, it’s as thought they know that they will never quiet be the same again when you are gone. Sometimes I think that they have forgotten how to let go because when you are ready to pull away it takes them a second or two to register the change and agree to be empty again. I don’t care how big you get, or how old you are, my arms will always ache to hold you. They will never be fully complete until they are once again wrapped around you in a tender embrace.
So remember my little one, you hold the key to my heart, inside of you is all the good of me and your father, inside of you is all of the memories I hold so dear. You never stop growing and I know you never will nor do I want you too but as you grow those small moments of clarity and peace that come from your warm embrace become the life of my soul. Everything you are is wrapped up in that moment and to me I would never trade a single second of those tender embraces for all the treasures of the world. My child please never forget that I need you almost as much, if not more, then you need me. And maybe just maybe next time you will hold onto me for a second longer because you know how much I need it and how much I need you.