The little one is fast asleep, the house is quiet, I'm on my own tonight, and I'm left to think about the day. A good one, parenting-wise. A happy one. Lots of smiles. Baby giggles. I'm sitting here a very happy lady.
We tackled bedtime tonight, just the two of us. And I cherish that quiet bedtime feeding. The way he stares up at me, with those glossy, sleepy eyes... He's so delirious with tiredness that he stops drinking to smile with his whole face. A tear slides down my cheek. I wonder if I'll ever stop crying every time I feel this content.
Two nights ago I missed this moment. Monday nights are me-nights. I attend a yoga class and leave bedtime for the boys. I know it's good for me. I need it actually. Crave it by the time Monday rolls around. But I miss this moment. That sleepy baby moment when the world actually seems to stop moving. When I get in the car to pull out of the driveway, I have to convince myself to do it. Every single week. There's a pause before I put the key in the ignition when I think, "Maybe tonight, I'll stay. Maybe tonight he needs me more than I need this hour away." But I always go. I know it's important to go.
But it's never easy. Even on the days when we've been grinding it out at home. Bad naps. Bad feedings. Grumpy baby. The nights I seem to throw Brayden into his dad's arms when he walks in the door. Even those days when I should want to run for an hour of quiet... Even then it's hard.
Weeks ago we were in the thick of sleep training. As Brayden fussed and cried upstairs. I, too, let a few silent tears slide down my cheeks. And then I'd go to him. What was the point in being apart? So I could get a few more hours sleep at night?
And now, now that he is sleeping so soundly, I watch him in the monitor and smile. And sometimes I miss him! I'm ridiculous, I know. But I miss him all the same.
When we get an invitation to go out, or start to make a plan for some visit or trip, the first thing that always pops in my head is how will Brayden fit into this? Can he come too?
When I have an errand to run or an appointment to attend, I always plan on him tagging along. I want him there. I love to push him around in his stroller and watch him watch the world. The fact of the matter is, I'd rather deal with a crying fit in the grocery store than rush in and out alone so I can get back to him.
Despite not wanting to be apart from him, I am sometimes. There are always appointments he can't attend. Evenings out that his dad and I need to spend alone. And we both do just fine without the other present. But I miss him fiercely. Even if it's just an hour or two.
I'm not sure if you'd call that separation anxiety. I'm never overly stressed out about being away. But in the back of my mind is this simple fact:
You never know how much time you're going to get with someone. You think you have a lifetime together, and before you know it, you're giving a nurse permission to take your baby away. This is the scene that plays out in my mind too often lately. That moment of real separation. That moment the baby who one went with me everywhere was suddenly gone. And now a lifetime separates us.
As long as I have Brayden here, I want to experience everything we can together. The incredible moments and the mundane. Because I know, too truly, how painful separation can be. So, if something comes up -- a trip to the grocery store or a trip across the country -- and I can have him with me, that's where he'll be. Right where he belongs.