The lights are out
Your diapers whirl in the washer
I'm not sure how I'll manage to get them hung out when they've run their course.
The rest of the house sleeps except for you, me, and the TV.
Your little body curls in close
Your tiny hand, so purely soft, gently tickles my side.
Your tired head is beginning to nod into me as your hungry suckles slow.
I am tired. Weary, even.
This parenthood thing is harder than I ever dreamed. You have changed me in ways I never thought possible. My mother-love is fierce. My mother-love caught me by surprise. My mother-love has even crippled me in the eight short weeks it's existed, worrying about you. Why aren't you sleeping more? Are you eating enough? Are my choices going to screw you up for life? God, please don't let me screw him up.
We're on our tenth episode of the fourth TV series we started since you came home. It turns out my baby likes to eat every two hours. And he likes to take forty minutes to do it. It wasn't but three or four weeks ago that you needed to eat for hours, almost nonstop, in the evenings, leaving me raw and begging for mercy and sleep. Now you're not eating nonstop, but we still don't climb into bed until the clock rings in the new day, because when I try to sneak us in before that your protests only lead to tears and frustration from your momma.
You were taken from my womb for your birth, and then you were taken from my room a few hours later. I felt you would never come home. I wept for you. For the time I felt was stolen from us. I wept when I had to leave you, alone with no momma to hold you in your hospital cradle, every night.
And then you came home and the tears kept flowing, but this time it was my new-momma hormones. It took almost five weeks before a day passed without my tears falling. They were mostly happy tears; falling in love with your baby is quite an emotional thing. But I was also panicking. Everyone says "they grow up so fast," and they couldn't be more true. I have begged time to slow, for your tiny wrinkled hands to stay newborn size forever. But time is our thief, and he is cruel indeed. You have kept growing; you weighed in at eleven lbs today. The days have passed and we have gone through highs and lows.
Tonight you lay in my arms as you always do. Your sleep breaths are a little snaggled, but you are content. One hand has gone limp, but the other you placed on my chest, just over my heart.
I will hold you here, even though my tummy rumbles and your diapers need to be hung. I could lay you down and try to sleep a few hours until you're ready for your next meal. But time is a cruel, cruel thief. And beg though I do, you are growing and changing before my eyes. I know in the blink of an eye that you will suddenly be crawling, then walking and running. Kindergarten is just around the corner, and then you'll be walking across a big stage to Pomp and Circumstance and telling family where you have chosen to go to college.
So sleep tightly here with me my precious first born. You made me a mommy. You have changed my body, my mind, and my soul. I love you with a love I never thought possible. There will be sleep for me in many years. But right now, I will cherish your sweet milky breath and nuzzling mouth. I will study your thickening eyelashes. I will feel the warmth of your tiny body against mine, knowing it won't be long before you'll be bigger than I.
The TV plays in the background. The clocks tick as the thief continues to steal from us. Daddy and the pups try to catch a little sleep. But you and I, we will sit here on the couch and soak these fleeting moments into the very fibers of our being.