There are some moments in life that I know will be treasured until my last breath. Like nap time. Lately Ava has been having a hard time laying down to take a nap. Her normal routine is to yawn and rub her eyes; I notice that she’s tired. Ava is then laid in her crib and she falls right asleep. Easy. Everyone tells me I’m lucky. However, lately, instead of laying down and falling asleep, Ava now stands up and cries… and cries and cries…. until momma goes into her room and picks her up. Once held, Ava then lays her sweet little head on my shoulder, takes a few sniffled breaths and falls asleep. And I just stand there and hold her, because I love it. Her warm little body close against mine, with that little head on my shoulder, is about the sweetest thing in the world to me. I would probably hold her for hours but 21lbs of Ava deter me from doing so. After 10 minutes my arms start to burn and I have to lay her down. But in those ten minutes, I drink in as much of the experience as possible, burning it into my memory to have for all of time.
Maybe I’m creating one of those bad habits that everyone tells you about… just let your baby cry or else you’ll regret it later. Yes, that’s probably true; perhaps I will regret it later. But I think what I may regret more is not taking the chance to snuggle as much as possible now while I still have the chance. I want to hold my baby as much as possible while she’ll still let me, while she still wants me to, because the day is quickly approaching when being held by me will be low on her priority list.
I can’t help but think of my own mother during moments like this. She once held me close, relished my little body snuggled close to hers and probably felt the same things I feel when I hold Ava. And now I live 1200 miles away from her. I don’t call as much as I should, life gets busy and I forget. But when I put myself in her shoes 30 years from now, I take a different perspective. I have a better understanding of why she cried driving away after dropping me off at college. A better understanding of the excitement in her voice when she answers the phone and it’s me on the other end of the line.
So maybe I am creating a bad nap habit in Ava or maybe she just needs to feel secure for the moment, I don’t know. Either way, I’ll have one more little memory to hold onto when it’s my turn to cry, driving away, one fall day 18 years from now.