to my evie baby,
today, you are six months old.
today, the cherry tree outside my window is glimmering softly in the sunlight, the dogs are sleeping, the hum of the refrigerator is the only sound i can hear and you are sleeping. i just put you down for an afternoon nap and when your body finally slipped into dreaming, i brought myself here, to write you your letter.
you are six months old, my baby. half a year, gone by.
these days you greet nap time with much more anxiety than ever before. i think you used to take me with you when you slept. i was in your dreams, in your crib, lying right beside you. you felt close, felt secure in your surroundings, and you slept-oblivious to the laundry i was folding in the other room or the book i was finally cracking open.
but now, you realize it when i am gone. now, you seem to understand that sleep is a place we don't go to together and even as i set you down your little arms cling tightly to me, reaching fiercely back towards my neck, towards my chest, and the tears flow from your eyes, like rain, the moment your body hits the mattress.
these days, i struggle with that. it is a never-ending battle between my heart and my head. my head tells me that you are coming into your own now, becoming a little person with real goals and intentions and a brain capable of getting what it wants. my mind tells me i must be aware of this. i must continue to teach you the things i want you to know. i must continue to set you down at nap time, even though you don't want me to, because a nap is what you need and to sleep alone is to gain a piece of your independence. my mind tells me all this.
but, my heart.
the day we brought you home from the hospital was the first day that i, alone, set out to be your mother.
our time in the hospital was filled with people to help, guests to hold, nurses to teach and family to calm. i was never alone, it seemed, and you were everywhere. you went to the nursery, to dad, to the bassinet, to doctors, to grandparents, to have your heel pricked, to be weighed, down the hall and back again. it all came and went so quickly, too fast for me to keep up. so when we finally went home- when your dad needed to run my errands and your nana had left and the guests were finished coming- time seemed to stand still as you and i sat together, under that big january sky, and i set out to be your mother.
i held you close to me and wondered about what came next. i worried about your diaper, about dragging my sore body to the next room to change it. i worried about nursing you, about how little and fragile you seemed to be. i worried about falling asleep, about not being awake to watch you breathe, about keeping you safe, about no doctors and no nurses and no nst's for the first time in a long time.
i had reached the end, reached my goal. and here you were, my beautiful baby. looking up at me with bright, gray eyes. looking up at me with wonder. and it was just the beginning.
in that moment, my body felt so sore and broken and my eyes were so heavy and hollow but, my heart.
today, you are six months old.
today, we will sing you are my sunshine and sit in the shade of the cherry tree in our yard. you will chew on sophie the giraffe and laugh when bubba licks your toes. you will roll across the room and back again. you will yell, you will shriek and then you will smile when i notice it. today, you will cough and then look for me. cough, look, cough cough, smile. today you will be bashful. today, you will curl your body tightly against mine and burrow your head into the nape of my neck.
today, i will nurse you and feed you rice cereal. i will laugh as it oozes from your mouth, trickles down your chin and drips onto your chubby, naked thigh. i will spoon in more and you will smile in delight. i will dance for you, in the kitchen, under the warmth of sunlight. you love it when i twirl, you love it when i bounce, you love it when we sing.
once you are significantly sticky i will lather your tiny body and shampoo your blond head. your daddy will come home. you will kick and squirm and smile at the sight of him. he will bounce you on his knee, kiss you on your lips, blow raspberries on your tummy.
you will wear footy pajamas. we will nurse quietly in the darkness, under the bright, bursting sky. i will read you your story. i will rock you for a while. i will lay you down and then, after a little while, you will sleep.
the night will grow quiet and time will pulse on. your dad will climb into bed. the pups will curl up together in the living room. the moon will creep it's way in through our windows.
i will wipe the counter and lock the door.
i will make my way down the hall. i will open your door slowly and find you, asleep.
i will lift your warm body to my chest, i will burrow my face in your soft, wispy hair. i will breathe you in.
i will stay with you, my baby.
at least for a little while.
at least for now.
at least while you are mine.