This week Jackson graduated from sleep sacks to a big boy blanket. I don’t know what it was about this particular transition since he started moving oh-so-quickly from babyhood to toddlerhood, but seeing him all curled up like this in his crib, his little hand resting gently on his new blanket, just crushed me. I took this particular photo during his first nap with the new blanket and seeing him lying there, so peaceful and dream-like, it was all I could do not to wake him and pull him to me and sniff his sweet baby head and say, “Stay like this, okay? Just like this.”
But I’ve thought that dozens of times since the day he was born, and it doesn’t matter how much I’d like to freeze time — or, on occasion, speed it up — things change, he grows, it all happens at its own pace, regardless of how hard I wish it wouldn’t. And I know one day he will be a man and I will be old and I’ll look at this photo and so many of the others that serve as frozen moments in time — moments I might like to stay in forever — and I’ll know he was happy (and so was I).
I don’t know what mistakes we’ll both make, how circumstances and time will pull or push us apart and back together and then apart again. I can’t foresee how our mother-son relationship with expand and contract and what challenges will test the bond we share. I don’t even know if he’ll always love me, or if my love for him will be enough to soothe his disappointments — I suspect it won’t come close — or register on his radar when his life fills with so much more than me.
I don’t know if this will be my only shot at motherhood and whether these milestones, big and small, like moving from sleep sacks to a blanket, are more than markers of passing time, but also markers of finality, one of many “lasts” I will have from now until I’m no longer here. Either way, I will keep trying to freeze these moments, or at least memorize them as clearly as I can, photographing them, one by one, and writing them down so that one day I can look back and say, “We were happy, you and I. In that moment, we were happy.” And that’s as good as most of us can ever hope.
Jenny February 13, 2013, 3:15 pm
Oh, Wendy. This made me get choked up. My little guy is 10 months now and I’m not ready to let go of him being a “baby” quite yet. But it doesn’t matter if I’m ready, because he sure is. I’m so excited to see more of his personality and what kind of person he’ll become, but I so treasure this time when I’m able to fix all of his problems. Thanks for writing this, it really captured how wonderful but heartbreaking it is to watch your child grow up.
lets_be_honest February 13, 2013, 3:28 pm
What a sweet picture. Just last night I said seeing sleeping babies is like watching those cute baby animal youtube videos. Just adorable! He looks like a little angel.
“if my love for him will be enough to soothe his disappointments — I suspect it won’t come close — or register on his radar when his life fills with so much more than me.” That killed me. What a beautiful way to describe a parent’s fears.
p.s. You might have to be more stealth in taking sleeping pictures as he gets older. My daughter hates when I do but I just can’t stop. She’ll even fake sleep just to catch me.
cdobbs February 13, 2013, 3:36 pm
thanx for making me choke on my own tears!
GatorGirl February 13, 2013, 3:53 pm
Also now I need to investigate this sleep sack thing. Other than swaddling I’ve never heard of this practise of putting your baby in a bag. I’m sure it’s more complex.
lets_be_honest February 13, 2013, 3:55 pm
lol, I wish they made sleep sacks for adults. Wendy linked it, check it out. So cute.
GatorGirl February 13, 2013, 3:58 pm
I was about to type I wish they made sleep sacks for adults. No more fighting for the blanket at night.
And I’m totally getting my yet to be conceived child one of these baby sleep bags.
Iwannatalktosampson February 13, 2013, 4:24 pm
I think they do – they’re called sleeping bags. 🙂
lets_be_honest February 13, 2013, 4:34 pm
Bah. Don’t I feel stupid.
CassieB February 15, 2013, 12:20 am
Aren’t those called… sleeping bags?
shanshantastic February 13, 2013, 3:56 pm
I’m all over the sleep sacks. I don’t like the idea of swaddling, but the sacks are a great way to keep baby warm without the suffocation risk. 🙂
Wendy February 13, 2013, 3:58 pm
Young babies -under the age of one or so – risk getting tangled up in a blanket while sleeping and then suffocating (because they don’t have the strength and ability to de-tangle themselves) so sleep sacks are recommended as a way to keep them warm without posing a safety hazard.
shanshantastic February 13, 2013, 3:55 pm
You’re breaking my heart. We have another 4 months or so until we meet Arthur, but already I find myself imagining these moments – wondering at each step that is alternately magical and just a little sad. This is such a beautiful wording of all the thoughts going on in my head right now.
(For the record, I sat in my car and bawled when I left my cat for his declawing surgery…my whole family’s waiting to see what a wreck I become when these milestones come and go…)
lemongrass February 13, 2013, 4:04 pm
You might surprise yourself. My husband has always been a total people-pleaser and I’m much more of a tougher type when it comes to for-your-own-good things. It switched when we had E! I had been saying to him for years, you’re going to have to learn to say no, you can’t get so emotionally invested in crying. Now, he’s not. E’s cries don’t faze him. I can handle the hungry, the tired, the change-me, the gassy cries. I can’t handle his sad cries. Those make me feel crushed for him- I feel every ounce of his sadness for him. He had an ultrasound yesterday and while I know it was only uncomfortable for him, it didn’t hurt, I was a mess at his cries. My husband was okay. You might be the same! Or you might be totally worse than me 🙂
lemongrass February 13, 2013, 3:58 pm
I know exactly the feeling. Or at least the same feeling I get came back when I read this. We’re actually using his first sleepsack tonight- he’s now kicking off his swaddle so it’s time. Something about little boys sleeping that makes your heart melt. This morning when E woke up and I brought him to our bed and gave him good morning kisses my husband imitates him, “Mom, stop! My friends are watching!” and I thought how someday I will have to stop kissing him, someday it won’t be appropriate anymore. I’m determined to get in as many as I can. They make up for the frustration I feel when I’ve only had 2 hours of fitful sleep and it’s time to wake up and feed him.
Sue Jones February 13, 2013, 8:07 pm
I haven’t stopped kissing my 9 year old!
bethany February 13, 2013, 4:54 pm
You people need to stop this right now.
You’re making me want a baby!
(and I am NOT ready!!!)
lets_be_honest February 13, 2013, 5:00 pm
Yea, between this and lemongrass’ baby roll over video…
Addie Pray February 13, 2013, 5:54 pm
fuuuuck, i’m crying, at work (again). and now i need a baby. and my own sleep sack. that reminds me, snuggies, people, snuggies, are AMAZING. it would warm my heart to see Jackson in a baby snuggie. maybe one with mizzou tiger prints all over it. … my goal in life is to find one.
Addie Pray February 13, 2013, 7:58 pm
God I just read it again. I’m so sad. And I miss my mom.
Addie Pray February 13, 2013, 7:59 pm
And my dad. And my baby blanket with Winnie the Pooh on it.
Brigitte February 15, 2013, 3:01 am
My baby blanket has Winnie the Pooh on it too!!
Classic February 13, 2013, 6:57 pm
Oh, that is like a poem. A love poem from a mother to her son. I think the memories of all of these moments with your child get imprinted in your cells or something, and stay in you forever…
Sue Jones February 13, 2013, 8:06 pm
Awwww! I remember feeling those same feelings when my son was a baby. Like I had to drink in those moments completely because they would change. I do miss the little baby that he was, and I am loving the big bright beautiful 9 year old that he is! Enjoy ever single moment.
mandalee February 13, 2013, 9:27 pm
Aww Wendy! Every time you write about my Jackson it tugs at my heart strings. He’s so incredibly lucky to not only have such a wonderful mother but it have all these little stories to refer back to when he grows up.
I totally understand your need to want to freeze time too. It’s crazy how young children can make you want to tightly grip to every calendar day. I’m not a mom yet but I nanny for two boys and we were looking through pictures to include on their parents valentine’s day cards and I got choked up when I realized last year at this time the youngest still napped and sat on my lap for hours reading and the oldest was a very timid kindergartener. Now, they’re growing non-stop, reading on their own, and are so independent. I feel so…less needed. I can only imagine it is a thousand times more magnified coming from their mother.
Wendy February 14, 2013, 7:18 am
What’s this about them not napping anymore? Oh, no…
MissDre February 13, 2013, 9:37 pm
Aww I want a baby!!
Sunshine Brite February 13, 2013, 9:48 pm
I simultaneously want a baby and to find my long lost baby blanket.
Mr. Bear’s getting a hug for sure tonight.
llclarityll February 13, 2013, 10:11 pm
But remember, there will also be many days down the road, when he’s not a little boy, you’ll look at him and think, “We still ARE happy.”
Ok, enough sap. My husband’s going to think i’m cray.
Taylor February 14, 2013, 3:14 pm
I wish everyone had a parent with your insight.
CassieB February 15, 2013, 12:16 am
This line really got to me: “or if my love for him will be enough to soothe his disappointments — I suspect it won’t come close — or register on his radar when his life fills with so much more than me.”
I think I need to call my mom tomorrow.
Brigitte February 15, 2013, 3:03 am
Thought I’d check out Dear Wendy while eating breakfast and all of a sudden I’m crying in my toast! I’m 6 months pregnant now, and I’m already finding that this pregnancy is going by so fast, that life just goes by so fast. There’s all these moments I want to hold on to, and I know even more precious moments will just pass by never to be seen again once this baby comes. What a wonderfully sweet post.
chicotia February 16, 2013, 4:56 pm
Sniff sniff. Beautiful.