On coming back

by arianne

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I wrapped my long hair up into a top bun in a soft scrunchie because I secretly still love them in the privacy of my own home. I laid back onto the pillow in rest for what seemed like the first time in months. I tried to fall asleep but my brain would have none of it. I thought back to the day behind me and got chills all over.

I was remembering how River came to me, turned to me, how she wanted me. Those moments when she buried her face into my shoulder and let me comfort her. Hide her. Protect her. What must God feel when I do the same? The feeling is hard to describe, our babies choosing to come back. Oh how I constantly pray they will always come back.

Because how do I describe what it’s like to watch my heart walk around all day?

She cruises across the room and I watch her arrive at her destination, the sliding glass door in our dining room, and she sits on her knees with back straight up like a tiny yogi. She is happy to just watch, but I see the wheels turning, I know what she’s thinking. She wants to join them.

We chat, which means I’m telling her things like “cactus!” and “birdie!” and she is responding by making baby blues at me and attempting new sounds like “bir”. I ask her for a kiss and she acquieces and then I scoop her up for a hug.

She can now hug, can you believe it?

She turns 10 and a half months next week which means that I suddenly don’t understand where the year went. She has one tooth on the bottom right and one tooth on the top left that make her a little goofy gorgeous. She is looking more and more like her daddy, but more and more like her mama when she smiles.

I often feel like I’m writing about being a mother for the first time — and I have to tell you, I think it’s because so much of what I’m experiencing is truly for the first time. My boys spent their baby and toddler and preschool years with various special needs and delays, such that most of how River acts and behaves now is entirely new to me.

I never before had a baby burrow into me with a smile and a snuggle. I had no idea babies even did such a thing.

Despite various struggles now, the trend with the boys is Progress, and that means that we all together get to experience life with the Happy Baby. Just yesterday Miss Thang took her first step. At only 10 months old. I am not sure how I feel about this.

Actually, I know how I feel. It feels painful. But in the most beautiful way, while still being completely soul-hurting, I am honored to experience each of her milestones. I’m not sure if it’s the wake of the loss of our first daughter, or if it’s simply because River is our last baby, but this “last this” and “last that” feels so hard that I’m already feeling the pain of her moving out one day, and the house being quiet once again.

By then they will all be gone, grownups in their own right, and all I keep thinking is, “Oh Lord, let them come back.” ┬áBecause I want to always come back, too.

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