Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A few more lasts

Sharing a bowl of popcorn with a 2 ½ year old is a joy in and of itself. I was sitting on the floor feeding Emet as he sat in his “activity station”, and Caleb walked over with his bowl of popcorn saying “eat with you? Eat with you?”. Never mind I had told him moving the bowl off of the coffee table would result in losing his popcorn privilege. He seemed to forget that in the moment of needing to be with Mama, Greta, and Baby Emet. I overlooked the mistake. There we sat, Caleb doling out pieces of popcorn between himself, Greta, and me. I would say, “Thank you, Caleb”, and he, in his sweet animated voice, with head cocked to the side, eyes alight say “You’re welcome, Mama!” Over and over the scenario repeated – piece after piece of popcorn shared. Finally, the bowl came to and end. Caleb asked for more. When I explained it was all gone, he looked troubled and asked where it went. An explanation of “in our tummies” seemed to suffice. Then, Caleb picked himself up off of the floor, bent over to get his bowl, and walked to the dishwasher. He then proceeded to open it, pull out the lower tray, stick his bowl in, and almost got to closing it before he was sidetracked into playing with the door (a definite no-no). Aside from this, I realized how big he had become, how much he mimicked us. This was the first time he had tried this, and I had given him no instruction. Oh the sparkle of pride in his eyes.

Tonight before bed, Caleb asked for milk. This may be the first time he has not asked for “nolt”, one of those priceless words that only a parent would understand. Again, he running forward in leaps and bounds – “look at me” he cries, if only in the proud twinkle of his eye. We look at him with joy in our hearts, praise him as if he had climbed a mountain, and turn our eyes to each other with tears of sadness as we both recognize another precious last.

Hours later, I am upstairs with Emet, rocking back and forth in the squeaky, but faithful blue rocking chair. He rests his head on my chest as I sing to him.....”Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly....” I look down to see his eyes wide open, staring into the distance. What goes on in that little mind, I wonder? What does a sweet baby of 6 ½ months think as he rests his head on his Mama? I have been here before with Caleb, yet now I hear him downstairs going through the bedtime routine with Papa......I hear a big boy, one who seldom stops to rest his head. I hear him say, “I love you, Papa” and hear Jason respond in kind, chuckling with deep emotion. Emet will be there in the blink of an eye, yet here we sit....Mama and baby, rocking back and forth, back and forth. As his eyes begin to close, I briefly consider my childhood development manuals, all of which recommend not rocking the child to sleep in order to avoid the creation of bad sleep habits. Yet, I remain. What a wonder this time. How many more times will I rock him, I wonder, before he too is onto another of a restless struggler, breaking free from his bonds of babyhood? Again, I feel as if time is slipping through the hourglass and I am watching it go. Can I grasp this moment? Can I hold it somehow forever? I hold onto my baby, savoring the moment, treasuring each rise and fall of his chest on mine. There must be a purpose for all of this. There must be....

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