Writing Miscellany

Remember This

These things I want to remember.

When the four big kids are in their beds and the house is quiet and dark. And I sit in my rocking chair and nurse you and your hands are splayed starfish-like on mine, or grasping my fingers. You close your eyes sleepily, and then you open them again and look at me and give me that sunshiny, milky, toothless smile. Your eyelids are a little red as sleep draws you in, but your face lights up when you smile. And then when you fall asleep, I hold you for quiet hours there in our place.

I want to remember this.

Every morning, you wake up happy. You look over at me and seem delighted to be alive, to be here, with us. Every morning, it’s like you’re surprised by the goodness of life. You grin at me, you coo, you smile, you raise your eyebrows and make silly faces. You reach out with your soft little hands and grab my face. You always grab my face. You open and close your fingers like you’re waving.

When you were so new, so tiny, you liked to sleep on my chest. You’d burrow your head under my chin and to comfort you, I’d cover your face with my hand. I don’t know how we started that or why you liked it, but you did. Then you’d reach your hand up and hold onto my hand. You cried a lot those first few weeks, every evening from seven o’clock on through the hours. But you liked that spot. It made you feel safe, I think. I loved it too. You’re not yet six months old, and already you’ve changed so much. You don’t fall into that spot very often anymore.

I want to remember this.

Every time I catch your eye, you smile. Every time. Even when you’re crying. Laina said the other day that you’re good at making people feel happy when they are sad. It’s so true. Your smile shows off your sweet bottom gums or your little pink tongue. (There is nothing better than gummy, toothless smiles. I might cry when you get teeth.) You sometimes raise your eyebrows when you grin. I don’t think I’ve ever not smiled back at your precious baby smile.

You don’t giggle so easily, but if I tickle you under your chin, I can usually get a little laugh. But if your big brother Mason is around, you chuckle, giggle, and squeal with delight. You think he’s the funniest thing ever. One night, he and Laina were yelling something crazy (“Not the butler!”) and they–and you–laughed and laughed and laughed. You were getting pretty wound up, almost hysterical, and they thought it was the best. I did too.

I want to remember this.

Those early newborn days of round-the-clock nursing (oh wait, we still do that!), where everything moves slowly and seems quieter, even when it’s not. When you slept more than you woke and liked nothing better than some milk and a snuggle (oh wait, that’s still what you like best!) You were so tiny then, so fragile.

For the first few days after you were born, I’d bring you into our room for a nap and we’d sleep snuggled up together. I’d smell your newborn head in my sleep. I’d wake up before you and not move, soaking in every second we spent in that peaceful cocoon together.

I want to remember this.

Dashing into the shower with you hanging out on the bathroom floor in your carseat, your brother in his highchair with a snack, and the big kids plunked in front of a movie. You fuss and I peek out from behind the shower curtain, catch your eye, and smile at you. You smile back, but only until I let the curtain drop.

How your right leg kicks when you’re hungry or upset. How you scratch things, exploring, and your daddy calls you the Scientist in the Crib. How you sometimes suck on your toes. Your squeals, squeaks, and coos, and the way you beat-box with your paci. And your sweet newborn cry, already changed into a sweet infant cry.

This wonderful new normal, having you here, with us. You’ve been here forever; you’ve only just arrived. We continue on in our life, cleaning the house, doing school, eating meals, getting little people dressed, changing diapers. And yet we pause, so frequently, to look at you. There’s a new little person here! Do you see?

Mason makes you laugh. Laina talks to you in silly voices. Cory wants to hold you. Iain calls you funny names. You are loved, little one. And welcomed. Waited for, and cherished.

I want to remember this.

I sort through your arrival, feeling mixed emotions. I relive the moment when I first held you, over and over. You were pale and your hair was dark, and you fit onto my chest just right. And we worked on nursing together and I was so glad you were finally here.

I wear you in the blue ergo with pink flowers on it. You used to sit up high in it, on a special newborn pillow and wrapped in a bulky support. The first time I used the ergo without it, when you could hold your head up well, I marveled at how tiny you felt again. We hiked that day, you in the ergo, me and your daddy chasing after your siblings. You like being close to me in that carrier, and I like having you there. You sleep, head tucked in, and you hold my arms with your soft hands. When I cradle you in one arm, your hand, hanging down, grasps my elbow.

You sit on my lap when we eat around our table, and you lean forward, grabbing for things already. You gum everything in sight. You roll the instant you’re placed on the floor. I think back to when you couldn’t yet roll over. It was so long ago. It was yesterday.

I want to remember this.

I go to bed late. You and I sit in the quiet, and we rock, and you nurse on and off, and I laugh at reruns of The Office and pat your bottom or stroke your impossibly soft head. You like to hold my hand while you nurse. If I move it, to reach for my water or the phone, or a book, you fuss. It’s okay, Ivy. I want to hold your hand, too.

I want to remember this.


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