There are some moments of mothering that are just too special to share with anyone but the little ones with whom you live them. Others seem almost too splendid not to offer an outsider a glimpse of, if for no other reason than just to let new moms-to-be know how pristine and blissful even the otherwise trivial and mundane times are with a securely attached baby. And how fleeting these days are... how few of them we really have to hold and nurse and rock and sing to our little ones. We only get this one chance to tenderly care for this new human life, quickly growing and changing right before our eyes. To wrap our love around them and meet their every need, protecting and comforting all the while, as we let them develop their own wings to fly. We have this one shot to 'do it right' and soak in every breath of this beautiful little child.
I suppose I must preface this with a secret confession. What seems like eons ago, while living a never-dull life as a single woman plowing through graduate programs and tackling all the amazing adventures and challenges that crossed my path, I would occasionally take an evening to just sit at home, turn off my phone, put on some tunes, light some candles, and sing (often accompanied with dancing) ~ solo ~ in my living room. There was some sort of healing that came from this blessingway into whatever followed the next day. On more than one occasion, one specific song tugging at my soul would be set on 'repeat' and played over and over and over again. (I cannot be the only one in the world who has done this, right?!) In any event - now with a family who often needs their early evening shut eye for even earlier mornings that come too soon, and an energy level that isn't quite up to par with my years as a 20-something-year-old, these singing and dancing and reflecting by candlelight nights don't come along too often. But tonight... oh, tonight. It was heavenly.
My son, all 31 months of chubby goodness, finished getting his 'night-times' on, just as a gentle, sweet song started drifting out from iTunes. It begged me to hum along to its not-yet familiar tune, as my sleepy son toddled into the other room to retrieve our apple soy candle. He brought it to me with a sweet smile and glisten in his eye. He loves candles (which could scare me if I recollect too intensely my own brother's fascination with fire when we were kids...) But I figured why not go with it, and do something he and I have never done before - drift into dreamland by candlelight.
So we turned off all the lights. Placed the candle on a little bench by our rocking chair. Set iTunes on repeat (ah, yes, good thing he doesn't mind my song selection at the age of 2). We struck a match, and as the flame flickered, we rocked, and nursed. We snuggled and sang. Drifting deeper, one lyrical line at a time. The moonlight now taking my place, with its solo dancing on our window pane, and our candle answering back.
This is the really good stuff that mothering is made of.
And I wouldn't trade it for all the sleep training or early bedtimes or parent-directed-schedules or premature weaning in the world. I only have this one chance. And if there's a single thing the decade of my roaring 20s taught me, it's that you can sleep later. For now, soak it all in, and dance (with your baby)!