Saturday, September 11, 2010

much too big.

the boy is asleep.  he has been for an hour or so.  peacefully nestled to sleep in my arms while nursing (even though i know the books tell me not to) and carefully set into his crib so as not to disturb him.
this strategically planned move allows me extra arms with which to cuddle the bigger ones before bed.

we read books.  and then i give into the please-just-one-more? plea. 

and we read another.
and if you don't tell my husband or the parenting advice people ... maybe another.

i usher the girly-girls to their beds.  kissing and hugging stella as she climbs her ladder.
love you.  sleep tight.  sweet dreams.
i lay quietly with cora ... whispering "not-time-for-talking-now"s and hushes into her ears as her eyes drift closed.

i hear stella rustling above us.

and so i make the rare climb of the ladder to lay with her for a few minutes before attending to my after-the-children-are-asleep-duties.

i lay quietly next to her and lay my arm across her body.

i realize i haven't done this enough.
i don't give her this time anymore.
i rarely have this time to give.

i take it all in.  i feel her heels click against my shins (when did she get that tall?).  she's all ribs and hips (where did those come from?).  she doesn't smell of baby shampoo anymore (more a mixture of dirt and sweat and crayons).
when did all of this happen?

where the hell have i been?

i remember holding her in the hospital as i was being discharged.  i remember someone in the elevator asking me her name.  i remember crying when i said ... stella.  i had dreamed of her for so long.  i could not believe that she was in my arms.  i wanted to hold her forever. 

and now.  six years and some odd months and days later ... i cry again.
the tears silently fall upon her pillow. 
she has no idea that i lay next to her and cry. 
she's just thankful that i took the time to lay there.
honestly, did you see that face?
that cannot be the face of my baby.

6 comments:

Kellie Steele said...

Awww your so sweet now tears rolling down my face reading this..

Pamela said...

and now i'm crying.

Givinya De Elba said...

Beautiful. You just lay there. Soak it all up.

Amy said...

That is exactly how I feel about my Stella too:)

Tracy P. said...

Aw, that is beautiful. There is still lots of time. And don't sell yourself short. You've been cheating the parenting books more than you let on, I bet.

Naomi said...

So sweet. Love that first photo!