Having your first child is akin to the early stages of dating someone you think you might really like. You are not sure what this is supposed to look like and you react to every word spoken … you want to make sure you look your best and say the right things, and you end up with butterflies in your stomach at each meeting. All day you think of this special person and imagine the next phase of your life together.
When I had my first child, it was frequently commented that I was holding her too much. In fact, it seemed that I would rush to pick her up whenever she would cry. And people around me thought this was a bit obsessive. They also called me selfish because they claimed I wanted to be with her all the time; it was suggested that I take a break from her, let others spend some time with her. But much like dating, my giddiness in getting to know her wouldn’t let me interact with her any other way.
As she grew taller, began to crawl, started speaking and began reasoning, this habit of mine never really changed. I continued the trend with my second child. I remember falling asleep in the same bed together and waking up in the middle of the night together. I relished the feeling of his little feet resting against my belly button as we slept, knowing that before long they would be resting against my thighs.
Then, my third child and I have earned the nickname, “Motherboy” from my husband, as we are never far from each other, if not attached at the, well, hip, breast … you name it.
While parenting is not always full of fairies and unicorns, and I will write more on that in the next post, there is magic in having my little ones close to me. Like my first date with my beloved, I still get excited and full of butterflies when I see my children after time apart. Now more than ever, I choose my words ever so carefully knowing that my kids ponder and repeat everything I say. And as they grow older and more independent, they remind me daily with their words and their actions that they are still attached to me, that they still need me and that they love me unconditionally.
Despite his explorations which take him in all directions when in public, I still nurse my baby to sleep at night and for daytime naps. Despite his preference to wrestle over giving hugs, I still pick up my little boy when he cries and rush to kiss his knees when they get hurt. Despite her desire to play with friends over doing errands with me, I still take extra time to brush my daughter’s long, golden hair if only to have her close to me for a few moments longer.
The reality is that from the moment they are born, our children become more independent and less dependent on us. So when they are little and are learning how to interact with the world around them, I attach to them, letting them know that they will always have my arms to come home to. The world will teach them to detach soon enough and they will have plenty of opportunities to cry it out when they are hurt.
For now, I think of these special people all day and imagine the next phase of our lives together. And until then, you will find me holding my babies, and holding them and holding them and holding them.