I’d always heard, before I became a mom, that I’d learn her different cries. Some, I would learn to tolerate. Some would make me jump and run. Some would break my heart. But noone could prepare me for the reality of the short, soft whimper after a bad dream, nor for the way my heart would break when I walked into her room and saw her standing there- arms hanging over the crib, clutching George tightly to her chest- and the “mama!” And bawling that followed.
There’s something about mama’s arms that will always soothe and comfort, and I felt her relax as I rocked her and held her close and told her in a soft whisper, “Mommy’s here, baby. Mommy’s here.”
It doesn’t matter that I was headed to bed, or that it took 45 minutes to get her relaxed enough to fall asleep on me and then transferred to her bed. What matters is that I was there. I don’t have the words to describe what I felt as I looked down at her, curled into my chest, stretching way down my legs. This tall little girl who no longer fits in just my two arms was, in that moment, no longer almost two. She was, for a brief second, my newborn. With her sweet little soft cheek on my chest, and a tuft of hair to brush back from her eyes, her little fingers of one hand curled carefully around George’s hand, and another in her mouth, in that moment she wasn’t a toddler who throws tantrums or fights against anything and anyone she gets frustrated with. Because all that melted away. She is, in that moment, and yes- in all the others, too- my sweet little tiny baby girl.
Even as her brother faught viciously against her leg that was pushing into his home, she was my sweet little snugglebug, my princess, my angel, my little butterfly. I tried to take as many mental pictures as I could to capture the moment forever. There’s no greater gift than that of life, and therefore no greater gift than to be a mother and watch that life, that God so painstakingly created inside, as she begins to grow up. We’ll have bumps in the road. (Heck, we already have had lots!) But it’s in those moments that I pray I remember these. When she breaks my heart, I hope I can remember these moments when holding her close and saying “Mommy’s here, baby. Mommy’s here.” Was enough to calm her fears and quiet her soul.
Being a mom isn’t for the faint of heart. And it’s a good thing God knows how to push air back into our lungs- because I know I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, to rock her sweet little one and find a catch in her breath. As I go to sleep tonight, I’ll pray like I always do, that He will watch over her and keep her safe. That He will give her sweet dreams, and that He will wake me at the moment she needs me. Because before I know it, she won’t be sleeping in our house anymore. She’ll be grown and somewhere far away. I won’t be there to hold her close and rock her when she has a bad dream.
But, my dear sweet baby girl, I can promise you this: no matter how far away you live, no matter how tall you grow to be, Mommy’s here, baby. Mommy’s here. I love you, sweetheart.