The weight of a tiny head, nestled against my chest. The miniature fist, clenching a portion of my shirt. The rhythmic breathing, interrupted by a faint flutter sucking on a pacifier. The soft, nearly invisible eyelashes, gently closing against deep blue eyes. These are the memories I wish I could burn into my mind, the feelings I wish I could memorize to warm my heart on cold, difficult days.
If I could freeze time, it would be at this moment. For I know all too soon, your tiny feet will be pounding the floor, chasing after your big sisters. I know that before I am ready, your rosebud mouth, so quick to open into a wide smile at the sight of my face, will instead form questions that I do not have answers to.
As I hold you and rock you to sleep, I feel that invisible force creeping into the room. Time. Time that is waiting to rob me of your fleeting infancy, as it did with your sisters. Time that is pushing you, willing you to grow, and all I can do is watch.
Try as I might, I cannot push Time from the room. Every day, it is changing you, maturing you, transforming you from an infant to a baby, a baby to a toddler, a toddler to a little girl.
I could not stop Time the first time, either, but I was far too busy looking for milestones and worrying about whether I was doing this mom thing “right.” I could not stop Time the second time, but I was far too exhausted form the demands of a toddler and newborn to notice. But this time is different. This time, I watch as Time steals your infancy away bit by bit, opening the door to new wonders, but leaving this mommy’s heart just a little bit sad. And once again, there is nothing I can do.
So, for now, as I sniff your sweet head and rock you to sleep, praying over your future, I will myself to remember your sweetness, your scent and the feeling of your little body molding itself so perfectly to mine. Tomorrow I may not have this, but for today, I treasure it.