Baby Don’t Let Go

I remember the week I brought my daughter home from the hospital. It was while I was sitting on the couch that I had my first real “moment” with her.

Now that I think back it was a fleeting moment, but I promised myself that I would never forget; times of immense happiness are somehow always neatly wrapped up and filed away in your memory.

She was sleeping, her head against my shoulder, breathing in complete rhythmic harmony; a sweet hum that filled my heart.

Her cheeks felt flawlessly smooth and impeccably soft. Her teeny hand was scrunched into a fist that tightly gripped my finger. All I could think of in that instant was that this was a true gift, and that it was mine.

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Three years later, and with hardly any regret, I’ve packed away her baby car seat, high chair, and that unpredictable toy that would randomly sing to the tune of Elmo at one o’clock in the morning.

And now I have finally reached my goal—a goal I was dreaming of for many months.  I officially became a card-carrying member of “Potty-Trainer Incorporated.” I will never have to deal with another dirty diaper again, or at least until I reach grandmother-hood.

It’s liberating to hang up my diaper bag that started to smell like a strange concoction of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a hint of cherry flavored Benadryl.

I have now happily resumed carrying my own tiny handbag. When I say tiny, I simply mean a bag that consists of a wallet, keys, and Chap Stick. So my hands are finally free, sort of.

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But.

Even though I have welcomed giving away all the baby paraphernalia with open arms, I am forever reminded of the endearing moment I had with her on the sofa.

It always sounds ridiculously cliché for new mothers to hear a seasoned parent preach that one should “cherish the moment.” The truth is that these are precisely the moments that matter most and leave the most indelible impression on one’s heart.

I see her now–cheeks hallowing out, losing all her baby-ness, and reminding me daily that she can do things “all by my(her)self.”

This is what I wanted all along, namely for her to be independent. I wanted to rush through the sleepless nights, the feedings on demand, and the relentless cries so that I could find a sense of normality again.

However, no matter how exhausting those days were, there was a bond that I now miss. The one where she sat in her high chair, searching to meet my eyes, knowing that when she did, she would be granted her wish–that is now gone.

The times when she would incessantly laugh at peek-a-boo or a silly impression of Barney was so picture-perfect, but that too has passed.

So I’ve become that seasoned mother who wants to say that every stage should be cherished; once it’s gone, it is truly gone. You can go through motherhood focusing on the hardships, hoping for them to disappear, or you can savor the moments.

My baby has finally opened her fist and let go of my finger, but sometimes I wish she would have held on a little longer.

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