Around 9 or so, Jett let out the saddest little cry & it seemed to blare over the monitor. I immediately sprang off my chair to run to him, knowing this was so unusual & out of the ordinary for him. I rushed into his room, scooped him up in my arms, & whispered all kinds of "Mommy's here, You're okay, & Shhhhh's". His crying came to a halt the second I picked him up & I carried him in the dark to the rocking chair in his nursery. I began rocking him back & forth. I thought for sure that at any moment he would start squirming like he always does. You see, Jett stopped letting me rock him around 5-6 months. He would squirm & struggle, & just want to be put in his bed where he could go to sleep. It broke my heart back then that my little baby had already outgrown being rocked.
But last night, we rocked & rocked & rocked, & I couldn't believe it, but he never moved, never squirmed, never budged. There he lay in my arms, his warm little jammied body cradled perfectly in my arms, just gazing up at his momma. As I stared into his sweet little face, I couldn't help but flash backwards to the teeny tiny baby days, when this rocking routine was so familiar. When he would wake me in the middle of the night, & we would diaper change, nurse, swaddle, & rock & rock & rock. I remember hearing all of the horror stories of mothers having to get up in the middle of the night, but you know, I never once minded it. I actually looked forward to those times. Those times when the rest of the world was asleep & completely quiet, & it was just the two of us. As I would look at him, all I could think was that I just wanted to hold onto him forever. I knew even then, that the time was going to fly by, & I clung on to every bit, determined to soak each moment in. I remember so many times looking at the clock & thinking, "In 5 more minutes, I'll lay him down." Then 30 minutes would go by, & I would find myself still saying, "Just 5 more minutes". I just couldn't get enough of my new baby. I knew that those middle of the night feedings weren't going to last forever. I knew that one day, he wouldn't call for me in the middle of the night anymore...that one day he wouldn't need me in the middle of the night anymore. And in a blink...those days were gone, & he began sleeping through the night--just as I knew he would.
As we kept rocking, realizing very clearly just how quickly those newborn days had actually gone, I then started to think of the days ahead... last night I was looking at the face of my baby, but one day, it would be the face of a child...& then a teenager...& then eventually, a grown man. He will graduate from kindergarten, from high school, & from college. Maybe he'll fall in love- get married. My mind was spinning with all of the details of his future & what it would look like. And I couldn't help but know that one day, one day much too soon, he will no longer need me to scoop him up, shush into his ear, & rock him back to sleep. He will be too grown up, & just like those middle of the night feedings, the precious days of rocking my baby will be gone.
After about 20 minutes or so of rocking, his little eyes grew heavy, his breathing got slower & deeper, & he was off to dreamland. I sat just a few minutes longer with him & cherished the moment. He's not my teeny little newborn anymore, that is for sure. But he's not all grown up just yet, either. For the time being, for this moment right now, he is still my baby. He still needs me to rush in & scoop him up. He still needs to be shushed back to sleep. He still needs to be rocked. And for that, my gooey, mushy, melted heart is truly thankful.