Last night I heard Fox moaning and whimpering over the baby monitor. Usually we let him whine a little at night when we know he’s just woken up and is trying to get himself back to sleep. But lately he’s been teething those two top teeth and has been pretty miserable. Swollen gums makes for an unhappy babe.
So I sneaked quietly into his room, picked him up, did a quick diaper change and turned on his favorite little rock lamp that emits the coolest warm glow. Usually he’s not content to be rocked back to sleep. He’ll want to nurse. Then sit up and stare at the lamp. Then he’ll want to nurse more. And then he’s trying to talk to the lamp. This goes on a for awhile until I finally decide that he’s not really all that interested in nursing, but it’s a little late to be holding midnight meetings with the lamp. Sorry bud.
Last night was different though. He was tired and not feeling well. I sat down in the little rocking chair with him and he put his head on my shoulder.
Let me preface this by saying that Fox is not a cuddler. He’s too interested in all the fun stuff happening around him to relax. But last night was different.
For awhile he kept picking up his head to make sure the rock lamp was still there (just checking!) and then finally he settled. For a long while we sat rocking, his face turned towards mine and his head falling back enough that he could stare at my face. He curled his little feet in like a frog and had his hand on my chest.
His eyes got heavy but I could see him fighting the urge to sleep. Every once in awhile I’d see the Nuk go up and down.
I have known Fox for 8 months. Sounds funny to say that, but it’s true. I’ve been on this earth for 30 years and have known this little man for 8 months of those. And yet, out of all my accomplishments, triumphs and successes, he is by far my greatest pride.
On a typical Friday night, not too long ago, an evening would consist of getting gussied up and heading out to the bars. Now a regular night consists of celebrating when Fox hits a new milestone. I used to belt out Ludacris songs when they’d come on the jukebox and now I’m at home singing the ABC’s on repeat.
I have found my happy place. And I truly mean that.
I stared at Fox for a long while after he finally lost the battle to sleep. My arm was cramping and I was in an awkward angle, but I didn’t want to move. I looked at his little face and tried to imagine what he’d be when he “grew up.” Just like how I’d sit in that same chair while pregnant trying to envision the baby I’d be holding on the outside so soon.
I thought a lot about the overwhelming feeling of love I felt and how millions of parents of teenagers right now, who struggle to connect with their kid, remember back to nights like these when they quietly vowed to never let their child know how cruel life can be sometimes.
This parenting thing really is something, isn’t it?
It puts a lot of things into perspective. The meaningless stuff just seems so…meaningless. Family takes on a new definition. Saturday errands become an adventure. Life, as hard as it can sometimes be, seems to have a rosier tint.
I finally put him down in his crib and he curled up into the bumper pad. I stood over him for awhile smiling and thinking about how he finally mastered getting into a sitting position from his belly that very night.
And I whispered a thousand and one “thank you’s” into the silence because I couldn’t feel more blessed than I do now.