One morning I put on a black long-sleeved shirt that had been hanging inside-out in my closet. Not considering why it was inside-out in my closet, I put it on. When I looked in the mirror, I noticed stains on the shoulder that belonged to a certain little one’s “drooling on mama’s shoulder” phase.
Disgust should have been my first emotion. I mean, I was wearing a shirt that clearly belonged in the laundry a long time ago, but that wasn’t what I was feeling.
Instead, I was feeling sad.
I was sad because I couldn’t remember when that drooling phase stopped and the “I’m-going-to-say-no-to-mama-at-every-request-and-run-away” phase started. I couldn’t recall when he stopped wanting to be held all the time and instead only wanted to run and jump and play and be busy all. of. the. time.
Where did that baby go? How did I not catch those changes happening? Now he was this…this, kid; a little boy. He is definitely not a baby anymore.
I started thinking back to those days when he was little. They were really, really tough. There’s a twelve-year age difference between my middle child and my youngest, so I was a much older (cough) mom during that period of babyhood and everything felt so much harder than it did when I was in my 20’s.
Getting him to sleep was hard, being a working mom with an infant and two teenagers was hard; putting him in daycare was hard, the many trips to urgent care because he was constantly getting sick from aforementioned daycare was hard, and being tired all the time was super-hard.
He is my third (and last) child, yet I felt like the most inexperienced mom-of-a-baby ever. How in my right mind could I possibly be missing those days?
I miss the little baby sleeping on my chest. I miss those big-brown-eyes looking at me like I was the only person in the world. I miss the baby babbles and I even miss the drooling. I miss those moments when hearing my voice would light up his face and carrying him around with me was a piece of cake.
He is about to turn three and I’m definitely still tired…all the time. (Upon reflection, I realized I’ve been tired since my oldest was born eighteen years ago.) Now when he wants to be held it’s usually when I’m trying to do something else, like, carry in several bags of groceries or cook dinner. Plus, he’s bigger and it’s not so easy to carry around an extra 35 pounds of toddler.
Who’d have thought that dirty laundry could make me get so emotional. (P.S. I washed that shirt immediately.)