Where once a baby lay, now a toddler stands… This afternoon as you awoke from your nap, still half-asleep, you sat your precious little body next to mine on the couch; and as you slowly sunk into the cushions beneath your tiny frame, you leaned your head on my shoulder and snuggled into me. There was music playing and we sat there, without saying a word, as you buried yourself in the space between my arm and my side.
And just like that – I realized my baby was no longer a “baby.”
Slowly, over the last few months, you’ve left behind that completely dependent infant, needing me to fulfill your every basic need, and have transformed into a tiny, fiercely independent, beautiful little human being. I blinked and you’re not just a baby any more, you’re a little person with thoughts and feelings and ideas all your own.
There are moments in between the to-do lists and adventures and schedules where it’s entirely evident that you’ve left babyhood behind. Moments that lie in the space between all the “life” that happens in our day-to-day; the moments in between moments where it hits me like a ton of bricks.
Like that one afternoon, when we were getting our shoes on, and you insisted on putting yours on yourself. I watched as your observant little brain worked through the process you’ve seen me do a million times. You knew that this tiny little thing called a shoe went onto your foot, but you weren’t sure which direction or which foot was the right foot. I offered to help and you pushed my hand away, fussing even the slightest bit, as you worked to solve this problem yourself. In that moment, you were no longer a baby.
And the first time we went for a walk without the stroller. I asked you to hold my hand, and you looked up at me, smiled, and put your hand straight out to grasp onto mine. Your entire little hand wrapped around my index and my middle finger and lead me down the sidewalk, pointing to all of the plants and trees and pets as we walked along the street. In that moment, you were no longer a baby.
Or that one morning, that started as most our mornings, when we were playing blocks and reading stories and singing songs. I was sitting with my legs criss-crossed and you marched right up to me, wiggled your way down to the ground and laid your head in my lap as we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom for the twentieth time. In that moment, you were no longer a baby.
Not to mention the first time we went to the neighborhood playground that you marched up and down those stairs over and over and over again. Every time you got to the top, you’d ask me to sit next to you, slide your little body over so there was enough room for both of us on the step, and then you’d march back down and do it all over again. In that moment, you were no longer a baby.
As I sit here, watching you drift off to sleep after you proudly proclaimed “night night,” tears stream down my face. You may not be a “baby” any longer, but you’ll always be my baby.
Photo by: Juniper Photo Co