Thursday, February 9, 2012

As Long as I'm Living....

Tonight, like many nights of late, Miss M called out in the dark. Her tearful voice full of fear called out to Mommy and Daddy to protect her from the monsters.

Shuffling into our room, hair tousled, eyes bleary, Miss M crawled into our bed to escape the terrors lurking behind her eyelids.

Gathering her into my lap, a bundle of blankets and softly hitching breath, I held her close. I whispered the nightmares wouldn’t get her, that Mommy and Daddy would make sure they couldn’t.

Despite her cries, I carried her across the hall to her room. Hysterical in my arms, frustrated and over tired, her despair broke my heart.  Sitting on the edge of her bed I rocked her. Back and forth, back and forth, I murmured soothing sounds.  Shushing and swaying I attempted to the drive the monsters away.

As I rocked, out of the dark a trembling voice whispered, “Mama, I want to go to the rocking chair.”

With a quiet affirmation I eased off of the bed and carried my life’s love to the chair in the corner of the room. The chair I'd spied in a random thrift store while still pregnant.  The chair I’d purchased on the spot, had the saleswoman wedge into the backseat of my car, and then spent hours painting the perfect shade of apple red.

Approaching that chair, Miss M’s tiny arms around my neck, I felt my heart flutter with excitement. It’d been forever since we’d last snuggled and rocked. My nights spent cradling a sweet suckling babe, were now replaced with a bedtime routine far more busy and boisterous.

Settling into the chair my sweet one leaned against my chest, long legs dangling on either side, now gangly arms tangled in the blankie snuggly wrapped around her shoulders. With our bodies properly arranged, I slowly began to rock, back and forth, back and forth.

My hand, as if possessed of its own memory, silently fell into the well-known rhythm, up and down, up and down, feeling her strong back, and its steady rise and fall.

As we rocked, her solid weight on my lap, my thoughts began to stumble.

“So big, when did my baby get so big?”

With feet moving the chair, fingers massaging her back, I began to hum Brahms’s “Lullaby and Good Night”. I don’t recall this song from my own childhood, but from the moment I brought Miss M home from the hospital, I've been humming this song. To sooth, to calm, to cure, to relax, no matter the situation I have instinctively hummed this tune.

Rocking together, locked in embrace, my little girl who can count to 20 and sing her ABCs. Who helps me feed the cats and insists on brushing her teeth "all by herself." My beautiful daughter, so smart and so independent, nestled against my chest, eyes closed, breathing steady.

Leaning my face over her soft hair, I kissed her smooth forehead. Leaning back, still rocking, still humming, and the realization hit me. Like a stinging elastic snap in my brain, four seemingly innocent little words.

“Not a baby anymore.”

Holding back my tears, I squeezed her just a little tighter, desperate to freeze her in this moment just a little bit longer. Yet, the words repeat.

“Not a baby anymore.”

That swaddled little peanut I brought home from the hospital has grown and developed into a full-fledged little girl. With her own ideas and indestructible opinions, she’s come through the first stage of her life, and is ready and excited for the next.

Not a baby anymore, a big girl now.

The thought repeats, "a big girl now", and yet a small insistent voice inside is not satisfied.  Piping up, it calms me.

“She will always be your baby,” it whispers “always.”

Slowing the rock of the chair, I shifted my baby into my arms, and carried her over to the bed.  For now the terrors are gone, and Miss M is at rest.

My baby, my sweet one, my life’s love, asleep and dreaming dreams of color and light.

Smiling, I turn and leave.

No matter how big she gets, how much she learns, or how many new things she discovers, she’ll always be my little baby, and I’ll always be here to help her keep the monsters at bay.

As soon as I got Miss M back into her bed, I was so inspired that I wrote this post. It was partially influenced by one of my favorite children’s books by Robert Munch entitled “Love You Forever”.  Not that long ago Miss M and I would read it together, and when the mother rocked her baby “Back and Forth, Back and Forth and sang", Miss M. would rock and sing with me.

This book has always been one of my favorites, and could make me teary at the drop of a hat.  Now that I am a mother myself, it holds a new place in my heart. A place of undeniable truth.

"I'll love you forever

I'll like you for always

As long as I'm living

My baby you'll be."

Trying not to blink,


Anonymous said...

Absolutely moving Mandy, beautiful blog , I loved it xoxox Dad,,

Mandy:) said...

Thanks Dad XO

Jessica Kane said...

Damn it Mandy, I'm now a blubbering mess when I should be sneaking in 74 minutes of work...but instead, sitting here crying. LOLS....
I actually just put Kyle to bed and for some reason it struck me tonight the same sad yet so proud. No wonder women lose their damn minds and have another....LOLS!
Love you, thank you.

Mandy:) said...

I knew I'd get you! Glad you liked it :)

You, Me, Hang out, SOON!!!


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