Waiting It Out
Spending some time diaper free before bed. Reading Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? and Mommy! Mommy! Scrubbing, with his help, the spot where he peed on the floor. Shrieking joyously with him, from opposite sides of a closed closet door, as we reach underneath to touch hands. Tickling his buddha belly when he opens the door to let me out. Shrieking and laughing and playing the closed door game again and again. Squeezing the last of the ointment that combats his winter dry skin from the tube. Brushing teeth himself. Putting on his pajama tops as he stands on tip toes and stretches his arms as high over his head as he can to fish toiletries out of a bathroom drawer. Putting on nighttime diapers and pajama bottoms. Fighting little hands and tears to brush his teeth myself. Crawling into bed. Reading, at his request, Hush Little Baby until he flips the book closed and signs more. Starting over. Stopping short when he signs all done. Turning off the light. Lying down to nurse. Letting him switch back and forth himself. Murmuring, singing, and humming through our now familiar and comfortable repertoire of lullabies. Listening to him babble. Rocking him in my arms when he pops up in bed. Snuggling. Nuzzling. Giving and receiving kisses. Soaking up his sweet toddler energy. Lying back down. Nursing again. Feeling his body quiet and then a rush of grief rise up. Longing for joy and connection. Watching H, through tear struck eyes, unlatch and roll away, asleep. Listening to him breathe. Studying him, the turn of his head, his starfished limbs, the rise and fall of his chest with each breath. Realizing, like an epiphany, that the loss of one relationship in my life has momentarily blinded me to the joy I have with those that remain, including the sweet toddler sleeping next to me. Pausing to savor the relief of my gladdened heart before climbing out of bed.