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.