Before we had our baby 11 months ago I couldn’t really imagine how much I could love this little creature. He is a delightful ball of light ricocheting through the house illuminating our lives. It is a joy to watch him become a person, and each day I love him more. But in a dual doctor household, it sometimes feels like we fit him into our lives, not the other way around.
Ever since we started our baby in daycare he’s had a routine. He always falls asleep on the drive home, and we leave him asleep for the next hour. And I regard this time as my own adult time. I know I know, if I was a Good Mom I would be spending this time blending homemade organic baby food or decorating the nursery from some Pinterest inspired ideas, but evidently I’m selfish so I use this time to work out, veg out, or occasionally make dinner.
So yesterday I finished work early, and on my long drive home I started thinking about everything I was going to get done with the extra hour of time. I was going to pick up the baby from daycare, jog on the treadmill while he slept, and then maybe veg out a bit with my laptop with the afternoon sun streaming through the windows, all before the telltale whimper from the carseat told me it was baby-time again. It was going to be sublime.
But babies don’t really understand plans.
I picked up baby...check. He fell asleep in the car...check. He stayed asleep when we got to the house...check. I changed into my workout clothes, and just as I picked up my running shoes I heard that little whimper coming from the car seat. I was annoyed and disappointed. But I also felt guilty about being disappointed. I don’t see my baby that much during the weekdays -- just a few hours in the evening and then it’s time for bed. I sat down on the couch with him and offered him a bottle. He was so cranky and tired. He didn’t want milk, he just wanted to be held. He curled up on my chest with his chubby marshmallow cheeks pressed against my skin. His lips opened slightly, inhaling and exhaling warm breath. I nuzzled his silky hair and smelled his sweet baby scent. And I thought about how there wasn’t really anything else more important than this moment. I thought about how now that he’s almost one he doesn’t really sleep in our arms much. How comforting it must feel for him to sleep wrapped in warm arms, listening to that familiar heart beat again. The birds chirped outside, and dust floated through sunbeams lengthening on the floor. The treadmill sat quietly in the corner. The room slowly darkened. And we sat in silence, inhaling and exhaling together, doing the only thing that mattered that evening.