I look at you through eyes of disbelief, my arms still heavy with the memory of your baby weight against me. I watch you, thinking of how smart you are, fully realizing that you know exactly what is going on — and you’re playing your mom and dad like a baby-sized fiddle.
I feel bewildered, like the past two years just disappeared. I can almost still feel the pang of the contractions that brought you here, the lingering aches of that first post-birth walk, and the heavy slosh of my deflated stomach. But of course, I am not there anymore, in that fresh and tender time when I first met you, when I first kissed your silky skin. We are here, staring down the calendar of your second birthday. And honestly?
I’m kind of heartbroken.
On the one hand, I know I should be grateful. There are mothers out there who have loved and lost. But on the other, I just want to freeze time, to stop you at this age between baby and child. Because two? Two is that tender age, isn’t it? Two is still my baby, still rocking to sleep, still cuddling in my arms. But two is also steps away from independence and temper tantrums.
Two is a favorite blanket and the insistence on “more!” of your bedtime story. Two is when I develop an odd fascination on your feet, because strangely enough, they seem to represent every part of your babyhood and future, all at once. Two is the time when those little baby feet, the ones I have kissed and pretend-sniffed countless times over the past 24 months, start to look like little girl feet.
Two is marveling at your expanding vocabulary and my astonishment, as though I didn’t realize you would grow up. I may have done this before, but for some reason, I didn’t expect it from you. You, I thought, would always be my baby.