“I can’t wait…”
It’s a phrase I have used thousands of times in my life. And it’s usually followed by something really awesome.
I can’t wait… for our wedding. Your wedding. My friend’s wedding. Their wedding.
I can’t wait… for our honeymoon.
I can’t wait… for the UVA girls’ reunion.
I can’t wait… for the holidays.
I can’t wait… for the birth of Triscuit (for new readers, this is what we called our son when he was in utero).
I can’t wait… for a vacation.
I can’t wait… to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
The list goes on.
Lately I’ve said these three words a lot referring to LG’s future.
I can’t wait for him to appreciate the ocean. I can’t wait for him to say mama. I can’t wait for him to try his first homemade chocolate chip cookie (or the dough, for that matter). I can’t wait to take him to Disneyland. I can’t wait for him to remember his grandparents. I can’t wait for him to be best friends with Aggie and Bode. I can’t wait for him to snuggle in bed with us of his own accord. I can’t wait for him to sing with me. I can’t wait to know what his favorite animal will be. I can’t wait to take him camping. A few months ago I couldn’t wait for him to sleep through the night, but happily we’re there (at least until the next sleep regression hits).
Taking care of a baby, I’ve found, feels a little bit like a game against time. We’re always squeezing things in in between his naps, poops and feedings. “Let’s hurry up and do this before…” or “Quick, he’s napping, let’s do this while…”
Each night before bedtime I feed LG in the nursery. MainMan will come to the door to check on our progress every few minutes. I give him an “eating” hand symbol when LG is still on the boob. Once LG is done (sometimes he tells me by pushing away, other times he falls asleep), MainMan will come in and we perform some form of high-speed jitterbug to put LG down. I turn on the noisemaker on the floor with my big toe, MainMan’s in action winding up the musical snow globe, I flip the glow-in-the-dark plastic duck light off and somehow LG makes it safely on his back zipped up in a sleep sack in the crib. Nobody wants to stir the sleeping baby so it’s always a muted, rushed affair. The quicker he goes down the longer we have to possibly enjoy a cocktail or the first half of a movie.
One night last week LG fell asleep on his nursing pillow. As I got up to move him to the crib, I felt the warm, heavy cushion of my son in my arms and I wept uncontrollably. I tried to start singing one of our lullabies, but I couldn’t manage. I was overwhelmed by joy and sadness, mixed with pride and guilt. We were always so rushed to put him down that I’d rarely enjoyed this feeling of holding my sleeping son. We held him as a snoozing newborn, but even then we were so worried about his “sleeping on us” becoming a habit that we tried to put him down as often as we could.
MainMan came to the door and was shocked at what he found. I quickly and quietly assured him nothing bad had happened as he dabbed my tears with his fingers.
“There’s no crying in bedtime,” MainMan said with a big smile.
I tried my best to explain that I’d suddenly gotten super-weepy over LG and the realization that all of this is going to be over so quickly. And that being able to hold LG in my arms is not going to be forever.
Then I told him about this quote I’d recently seen on Instagram: “Cherish every moment because every day they are growing further away from you.” To me, this is equal parts beautiful and haunting.
The other day I called myself out after making yet another one of my famous “can’t wait” comments. I realized while it’s OK to be excited for what’s to come, I need to pause, sit back and cherish this precious baby time because we may never have it again. MainMan and I don’t know what our future holds. We have two more frozen embryos in storage in South Carolina, but we don’t know if they will take (we ended up with four and the first one didn’t). LG could be it. This could be it. And I’m OK with that. So instead of saying “I can’t wait” for this or that, I’m going to change it up to “I can wait.” Because this. The here and now. My LG as a 6-month-old is pretty darn sweet.