In the darkness, his face looked like the image on the ultrasound monitor. The soft rounded closed eyes. The thumb at the mouth. I couldn’t remember the last time I held him while he was sleeping. It had been too long.
Now, his body was much bigger, stretched across mine diagonally, like a pageant sash. My arms wrapped around him, my hands feeling the soft stubble of his blanket sleeper and his warmth. His breathing, though, was noisy. Rhonchorous, like I imagine his lungs underneath. Horns. Percussion. The music hitting all the wrong keys. His chest heaved as he breathed in and out, in discomforting noise.
I rocked and thought that this might be the last time I’d go through these mothering motions. Comforting an uncomfortable baby to sleep was a power I enjoyed. Is this really the last?
I didn’t want to disturb his hard-won sleep but couldn’t help but stroke the side of his face in a moment of mother adoration. To lightly brush his warm forehead, blushed with fever.
The time marched on in that rocking chair. I wondered what time it was, and what time I should get up and place him back in his crib.
Just another minute.
Instinctively, I pulled him into me a little bit tighter. Don’t grow up so fast. Be well, but don’t grow up so fast. I need these moments to slow down too.