I’ve just been into our eldest son’s room. It’s late, past midnight and he woke up to start babbling away about anything and everything. He does this every so often. It’s almost as if his brain wakes him up out of excitement. A kind of ‘I think I know how to say such and such… Wake up so we can practice!’.
I don’t mind. I really don’t. I actually love to listen to his babble and random phrases. It beats the deafening, bone chilling pitch that used to come from teething or hunger when he was teeny… not that I am past all that yet though, I have his younger brother to pick up that baton for now!
After a while of listening to tonight’s babble show, I went in to check all was ok and picked him up to grab a cuddle. I do this often with the babble nights, especially now he is two and a half, they happen much fewer and further between. I love this type of cuddle. The It’s-Past-Midnight cuddle, where the others are asleep, its just us and I can stand there holding him, with his arms about my neck and his legs wrapped around my waist whilst he lays his head on my shoulder. We don’t talk or even look at each other. We just exist in that hug. He usually curls my hair around his fingers and I breathe in his scent… Baby Bath bubbles, Lenor fabric softener and what I call ‘toddler boy smell’. My very own mummy heroin, my addiction since his birth.
I was soaking up my ‘fix’ tonight when, suddenly, IT just struck me again. BAM! Like a lightning bolt. Every time.
They grow up.
I know, I know. It’s ridiculous. Of course they grow up? That’s the whole point. But does it have to happen so bloody fast??
Day to day it doesn’t feel like it does. The monotony of routine fools you into a false sense of security (and sometimes dread) that things will always stay the same and a long road stretches ahead with the only pit stops being nappy changes, soft play, meal times and piles of washing.
But things don’t stay the same. One minute you are cuddling a new born to your chest and the next you are buckling under the weight of your toddler who’s woken up to announce to his bedroom ‘Oh! Hi Train!’.
I always feel like the beautiful moments like these are bittersweet. If I could grab them and put them into a glass bottle to be snuffed into my brain whenever I felt like it, BFG style, then I would do so with both hands. And feet.
But, instead, I try to imprint it on my memory. The smell of him. The weight of him. The magic of the hug and the sound of his babble. I feel thankful to the imprinted memories I already have, that fly back to me when my brain sees fit to do a timeline comparison during a special moment like it did tonight. I wouldn’t marvel at the change in him if I hadn’t have imprinted in my mind what it was like to cradle him as a new born or as a baby.
So, as much as it pains me to be given a whack in the face by Father Time, I bow my head to him and thank Mother Nature along the way. I admire and respect them both… Especially when hugging my child, past midnight.