I sit rocking her as I have done everyday since the day we brought her home. The creak of the chair is so familiar I hear it in my dreams. I sing the same three songs in the same sequence that I have done for months on end. Back and forth we rock. I keep time by patting her diaper. She lays sprawled on me, wrapped in a warm fleece blanket. Slowly her eyes flutter and then suddenly are closed. My singing becomes a hum and the rocking smoother. It's all so familiar, so routine. So peaceful.
Yet, something about this night is so different from all the rest. Suddenly, like lightening striking me, I'm hit with a thought. I have been doing this for a year.
My little baby is almost a year.
A shiver runs through me like ice. How did I let a year slip by so quickly? How did I know, yet not know, that in just a few days time my beautiful baby girl would no longer be a baby? I pull her close to me, envelope her in my arms, hoping to cease time for just a bit. It dawns on me that these are the moments that won't last forever. Soon she won't need my embrace or my songs to lull her to sleep. Her needs that are dependent on me are coming to an end. I wonder, have I cherished these moments as I should? I have shown her all the love I feel right now? Though she will never remember these precious moments, will she at least know that I will forever and always be there for her? That I will love her indefinitely? These thoughts are ones I've had constantly over the past year, but they have a sense of urgency that they've never had before. As much as watching her develop, learn, discover, and progress is the greatest privilege I have ever known and as much as I think my heart will explode with all the love I feel for her, I cannot help but choke back tears. Tears of sadness for what's being left behind and tears for all the years waiting to be discovered.