Having, holding 2/18/20

9:00pm ish

Tonight I was reading the heart rending instagram posts of a mom who lost her infant son right at the moment when my chubby Charlie woke up from the pain of his 15 month booster shots. I put my phone away and went to him. He sobbed for a while. Declined milk, stayed upset despite my snuggling, then after a few minutes eventually settled into my arms and fell into a light sleep as I hummed church hymns and rocked him in the chair I've held all my babies in. I felt his weight, all twenty six pounds, in my arms and lap. I smoothed his hair and patted his big belly and squishy arms. I zeroed in on his every detail – I couldn't help it. I wanted to drink him up. 

When I shifted my weight to move him to his crib, he whimpered. I could tell he was going to wake up and get upset if he couldn't stay in my arms. I brought him into the living room for a bear hug from his dad while I readied the ibuprofen. Sat on a kitchen stool while Nate administered it. Kissed his foot goodnight before Nate went and laid him back down. He's sleeping in his crib on the other side of the door next to my desk, probably only eight feet away. Feeling him, as well as his sisters, in my presence, safely in their beds, under covers, behind doors, enlivens and calms me simultaneously. 

Having babies. Holding them. I have long believed that I truly know what that having and holding means in my world and everything it encompasses, but nope. On the 467th day of his life my beautiful little boy tore it all down and taught me as if I was learning it for the first time. Oh Charlie how much I love you. I ache for the capacity to love you exactly as you are and thrill in imagining you as you'll soon become without the mild horror that accompanies each scroll back through the camera roll, full of photos of tiny you, a you that I loved so deeply and waited so long for. The you that I wanted to have and hold, and then I did have you and I did hold you. And now, you weigh twenty six pounds. You know when you want to be free, you know when you want to be held.