I Just Wanted to Hold My Baby
I tucked Zack into bed, gave him a couple more (there’s always more than just one) hugs and kisses, told him I loved him and to have sweet dreams. He told me he loved me too and wished me sweet dreams. I turned out the light and went into the living room to grab Brayden. He was waddling around carrying a “choo-choo” book (Thomas the Tank Engine) and his little bunny, wearing the coziest blanket over his green, white and yellow fleece polka-dot jammies. I just wanted to snuggle him right up and never let go!
I carried him into the boys’ room, closed the door so only a crack of light seeped through, and sat down in the chair with him on my lap. I could faintly hear the lullabies playing in the living room over the sound of the humidifier and white noise machine. I took the “choo-choo” book from Brayden’s hand (much to his disliking), and right as his protest reached a peak, with stiff, arching body and wide, open-mouthed crying (it was a good thing Zack wasn’t quite asleep yet), I gently finessed the bottle of warm milk onto his lips, at which point he immediately ceased and calmed.
I could feel his body relaxing in my arms, as his head began to lean into me. I put my cheek to his forehead – so soft, so precious. I snuggled him as only I do, kissing him gently, holding the bottle as he rhythmically drank. We both drifted off to peacefulness, I, still awake but aware; Brayden becoming limp but also still awake. We were like one. One heartbeat, one soul, one being.
I began reminiscing about how tiny he was when he was first born, and how he used to hold my thumb as I nursed him. Just then, his hand slid onto mine, as if he knew my thoughts, and he reached to pull my fingers up to his heart. At that moment, I just wanted to hold him forever.
He finished his bottle (what he was going to drink of it) and gently pushed it away. I turned to set it on the table next to me, and then turned back to look at Brayden. He was getting so big, but he was still just a baby. I thought the same of Zack, how he was getting so big, but still so little and innocent, all tucked into bed with his footsie jammies and snowflake blankie.
I usually put Brayden right into his crib after he finishes his bottle, but tonight was different. I couldn’t let him go. I just wanted to hold my baby. I wanted to feel the soft skin of his cheek once more against mine. I wanted to hear the sound, smell the sweetness and feel the blow of his breath. I wanted to hold him until he slept. I wanted to hold him until I slept.
My conscience told me to “put him in his crib and let him put himself to sleep, like always.” And then my heart spoke back, “hold him as long as you want. You are his Mother, he is your baby. Love him, hold him, be one with him.” And so, I held Brayden as he rested his tired head on my shoulder and my arms cradled him off to sleep.
I sat there holding him for a while, until I knew he was dreaming of puppy dogs and horses and, of course, choo-choo trains. I don’t know exactly how long it was, and it didn’t matter. I knew I had poured my love into him tonight, and had filled my heart up at the same time. I did what I needed to do – I held my baby.