I miss babies. I don’t miss the sleep deprived nights that turned me into a bleary eyed crying zombie, or the non stop diaper changing that resulted from a schedule of breast feeding every two hours. I don’t miss the feeling of being on high alert 24/7 listening for every breath, making sure they were sleeping in the safest position, and wishing they had come with an instruction manual.
I do miss the buttery smell of their baby breath, and the sweet moments in between when my baby boys felt like they were my treasures to hold and protect and the feeling that I was the most important thing in the world to them.
Now they are big and independent and their breath rarely smells like butter. They have other people and things that are important to them, and they do not want my protection. They definitely don’t want my advice.
Riding the subway recently, I sat wedged in between the railing and a young mother and her daughter. The little girl was smiling, adorable, with long dark braids and tiny little crocs on her chubby feet. She was burrowing into her mother, nuzzling her head into her mother’s neck. The mother was kissing her head and they wrapped their arms around each other. I wanted to reach over and grab her from her lap and cuddle her too. I contained myself.
That night I came home and my sons were watching TV on the couch. My husband was in a chair. I sat fairly close to Justin who is almost 23 – closer than the minimum twelve-inch comfort zone I normally allow before I get the “look” . After a comment about my short leopard print PJ bottoms being trashy looking, he relaxed and seemed to be ignoring me as I pretended to be interested in the Miami Heat/Spurs game they were all watching.
And then it happened. Justin laid his head on my shoulder. I didn’t respond — afraid to scare him away like I had come upon an animal in the wild. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was there. And then it was over. Older, bigger, but letting me know he was still my baby. It was enough.