There are probably a million and two blog posts with this same exact title making their way through the internet as we speak. It is something that weighs heavy on a mother's heart, the fact that babies are only babies for such a short period of time. A blink of the eye and there they are... graduating college and having babies of their own and what-not. But we're not going to get that far here, because I can't even think about that without wanting to run to the nearest corner and rock back and forth in the fetal position.
This afternoon, just now, I went to put Marleigh down for her nap. I made her a bottle (yes... we still give her morning/nap/bedtime bottles even though she's 1), grabbed her favorite binky (yes... we still let her sleep with a bink too), and we made our way into her dark, quiet bedroom for the usual naptime routine where I put on her sound machine with the sound of rain and rock her on the glider in the corner of her room while she goes from bottle to binky, back to bottle, and back to binky again; until her eyes start getting sleepy and she turns into my chest, signaling that she's ready to be placed in her crib.
Except today, that didn't happen. Today, I sat down with her in the glider and she didn't even want (or need) her bottle. She grabbed her binky, looked at me, turned her head, and looked right at her crib. She didn't need to be rocked to sleep today.
Cue emotional momma meltdown.
Just like that, my baby girl seems to be turning into a big girl. Sure, she's been slowly weening herself from needing to be rocked for a few weeks now. The intervals have been slowly getting shorter between rocking her and tucking her in, but I wasn't ready for this. I'm hoping, praying, begging for this one nap time to be a fluke. I need to rock my baby to sleep more than my baby needs to be rocked.
I love this season of Marleigh's life so, so much. I might even go so far as saying it's my favorite one yet. I love her personality that is bigger than we know what to do with sometimes, the belly laughs she gets (and gives us from her goofiness), her own personal language that we somehow understand, the way she's so sweet and so smart and so much of her own little person it's hard to believe she's only one.
But for as much as I love where she is right now and how much she has grown, I also love her little tendencies that remind me she's still little. Still very much my baby.
The fact that she still fits into 3 month onesies and that most 9 month pants are baggy on her - such a petite little peanut. The fact that when she falls asleep in her car seat, her lips still pucker the same way they have since she was brand new. Or how when her mood is just right and she climbs up on the couch just to give you a big squeeze, she rests her head in that spot between your neck and shoulder that she still fits in so perfectly. And... up until today... the fact that I still get to rock her to sleep and feel her body slump into me as I carefully set her down in her crib and tuck her in.
I am not ready for that part to be over. Not yet.
This motherhood gig, I tell ya. It's an emotional roller coaster. And these moments and milestones are the true definition of bittersweet. If you need me today, I'll be wallowing in my own self-pity and trying to find ways to keep my baby a baby just a little longer.