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Hard at Play, Unexpected Goodbyes

Last night, after Tristan had woken up from his very late nap, the two of us were reinacting a scene from the book, Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. He had been a little scared of the Big Snort in the book, but after I explained that the Big Snort was a nice guy, that it had actually helped the little bird by lifting the little bird up from the ground and taken it back to its nest where its mama could find it, he seemed to like Big Snort o.k. and wanted to reinact the scene I just mentioned. He spread a blanket on the floor and that was our nest. I was both the Big Snort and the mama bird and he was, of course, baby bird. It was all very sweet. While I was sitting there, I realized how happy he was just playing in this simple way with me, and all of that feeling, like, "I should be doing....(this, this or this)" just went away. He knows the difference from when I'm playing with him preoccupied with other thoughts, or if I'm fully present with our play. Sometimes he'll even say to me, "Mommy come here," even when I'm right next to him. He knows when my mind is elsewhere.

I forget this sometimes - all of the things that have to get done in daily life often take priority over play. Obviously, that is necessary sometimes, but not always. I notice how much smoother things go when he has undivided attention too. If we play hard for a given time, he seems more agreeable for the non-play things later on. And he's so happy when we play! This I have to remember: when we play, play hard, play with abandon. These moments are fleeting and there will be a time when he doesn't want to play and when he has other things he needs to get done. Two and a half years have flashed by already, before my eyes. I tell him all the time, "When you were a baby, you would play with this," or some thing or another about a time not really all that long ago. He'll repeat, "When I was little, I...." Such precious moments.

What I never expected from motherhood - especially when he's still so young, are all the things I have to say goodbye to - like baby talk, sitting him in his high chair, or his nickname (Tristan-bug. He's informed us that he is not a bug, and presented with the option of being called Tristan-bear, he consented to letting us call him that. But I'm having a little trouble remembering. He will always be my little bug.) Sometimes you don't even realize when the last time will be that your child will do something. I (regretfully now) sold my Ergo baby carrier last fall when it didn't seem like I'd used it for awhile and I didn't expect to use it again. When was the very last time I carried him in it? Was it on my front or back? I imagine it was sometime in August or September, but I don't know for sure. Since we've been in Portland there are several times I thought I could have used it, but I just put gave him a piggy-back ride instead. I let go of that carrier too soon. Probably because he's heavy and carrying him was giving me back pains, but I miss that most literal part of "attachment" parenting, and I wish I had let that go on a little longer.

Someday, there will be a last time he nurses. There will be a last time he sleeps beside me. I may not even realize it at the time. I just pray we will never stop playing and never stop laughing with me. Motherhood is full of goodbyes.

I had no idea.


Deanna Hull said...

Hi Genny,

I know you from a very long time ago. Your dad and my dad went to high school together, and have remained friends. I remember lots of times we played together: you, Lisa, my brother Don and me. But Lisa is closer to my age, and you were only about 3 or 4 last time I saw you, I think. Anyway, I saw your dad and his wife yesterday, and Stephanie asked me if I knew what attachment parenting was. When we'd had a good chat about that, she directed me to your blog. It's lovely. I just read this latest post, and you've put words to something I've been experiencing all the time recently - that idea of things passing by, of not knowing when's the last time a dear little thing will occur. Very bittersweet. No one but a mother will know this feeling. Our sons certainly won't understand! My boy is 17 months. I look forward to reading more.

Best wishes,

Deanna (Immel) Hull, mom to Jack

Fifi Flowers said...

THey grow up too fast!!!
Yet some things never change!