I saw your eyes droop. You mumbled ‘Mama’ and slept.
I watched you sleep. I don’t know for how long.
The home is quiet. Absolutely quiet. Slowly, I disentangled my fingers from yours, careful not to wake you up.
You have already started sleeping in your room alone, and, to be honest, I don’t like it one bit.
Not one bit.
A lot of these nights, I just go and tuck myself in beside you. I love to hold your hands and sleep next to you. I pull your comforter on me and we sleep like the best buddies ever. I hold you, and you put your hand around my neck.
Let me tell you, as a parent, there is nothing more comforting than the hands of your sleeping little one around your neck. Nothing!
I love it when you hold me and sleep. I love it when you pat me in your sleep asking me to turn towards you.
I love it when we share the same blanket.
I love your smell.
I love it when, suddenly, some mornings, you come over and sleep on my bed curled under my quilt. When I sleepily ask you what happened, you say that you were cold. I hug you tight and we sleep facing each other, your little nostrils breathing warm air down and your tiny chin facing up. I want to hold those moments forever.
It is funny that if you are cold, you can just pull your comforter over yourself, but it is warming to know that you choose to slip in under ours. My eyes open the moment I can hear the silent patter of your feet walking up to our bed.
I can hear you.
In my sleep.
Yes, I can.
And now, now that you are growing up so fast, I feel insecure that these days will never come back. I feel that time is slipping away from my hands, and I’m trying to fist it up.
Harder and tighter. And faster before it slips away.
I notice how big you’ve grown. 5 years already, and I’m scared.
I’m scared that soon, you will not run after me because you will, consciously, be a bigger boy.
I’m scared that soon, you will not talk endlessly to me.
I’m scared that soon, you will not start everything with a screaming ‘Mamaa…’
I’m scared that soon, you will not hug me every time I stretch out my hands to you.
I’m scared that soon, you will not jump on my lap anymore.
I’m scared that soon, you will not curl your hands around my neck and sleep.
Am I already feeling what they call the ‘empty nest syndrome,’ just a little early?
I have already realized that life can often be terribly ironical for a parent. Just until a year ago, I was trying to have you do a lot of your own work. That way, you could be independent, and I could also focus on the more mundane things we always strive to finish. Wearing clothes, taking a shower, eating, combing your hair, helping me with my work were few of the things on my to-do list for you. One step at a time, you helped me strike off these items on my list. Each time I struck out a bullet point, my heart both sank and danced. I felt weird.
My heart breaks when I see that you are getting so independent, but at the same time, it is very fulfilling to see your little nimble hands work out things for yourself. It is immensely satisfying to see your little fingers, soft palms, and tiny nails tugging at drawstrings, patiently buttoning a shirt, rubbing soap all over yourself.
While on one hand, I want you to grow up fast, on the other, I want to hold on to your childhood and not let it go! Grow up kid, just not so fast!
While on one hand my selfish mommy heart wants to hold you more and more, on the other hand, I understand how you are bracing yourself up for the times ahead, and how important it is to make you ready for your own life.
That consoles me.
That puts me at ease.
That makes me love you more.