Monday, August 13, 2007
Misty Memories of Late Nights & Rocking Chairs

It's just a night of babysitting - the 'kids' are out at a movie, and I offered to stay with their little one. He would be about ready for bedtime when they left, and I'd just spend the evening reading a book, or whatever, putzing. That was the plan anyway.

At eleven months he still looks very forward to the evening bottle. I managed to change him while he guzzled, then we finished up in the nursery rocker. He hasn't developed an ear for music, so he listened without complaint while I sang all twelve verses of 'This Old Man'. Bedtime - he settled into my shoulder. When sleep had taken him over, I laid him down in the crib, made sure blankie and froggy were nearby, and slipped out of his room.

An hour later, on the monitor - I hear fussing. He's teething so I head up the stairs to give him ibuprofen and an extra snuggle til he's calmed down and the medicine has kicked in. We sit back in the chair, and I begin to rock again. This time no singing, just a soft backrub. There's a fan on in the room, but it's aimed at his crib, so it doesn't hit us. We're so close together that soon his fine baby hair is wet with sweat - his and mine - against my neck. We're overly warm because of the flannel blanket he hugs closely. A blanket I made him. Is it pride, my pleasure over it slowly becoming his "blankie"? I hope not. I can feel his thumb going in and out against my shoulder.

I realize we're going to be here awhile. I'm not willing to put him back down til he's sleeping that deep baby sleep, where limbs hang by his side, and the thumb falls out. He's a heavy baby, so I cup one hand under his bottom, to support his weight. Next to my hand I feel the rolls of babyfat on his legs, and run my other hand down his little arms to find more rolls. Soft rolls. Once in awhile, right when I think he's there, instead he bolts up, looks me in the eye, then throws his head back down, trying to sleep.

Sitting here, holding this little boy, my mind goes back 23 years, to when my son was this age. Colic was an ever-present enemy, so sleep never came easy. Back then he and I spent many hours together, in the rocker, sometimes both of us crying, him with pain, and me with frustration and weariness. I thought back, wanting so badly to remember my son's chubby legs, soft arms, that hiccupy sound he must have made as his cries settled down, knowing I would be there. I tried to remember his back so small, hair so fine, eyes big and trusting.

As hard as I try, I can't recall the details of what he looked like, felt like, smelled like as an infant. It's been too long. My son, now 24 and tall with broad shoulders, thankfully doesn't remember those days. Sitting here, rocking this fussy, teething little boy, who will grow too quickly into a man, it's a gift straight from the Father to bring back those nights when my son was a baby, crying with pain. I can imagine that he was much like this little one, nestled up close to me. Hard as that time was for both of us, I am blessed to recall it tonight. And him when he was this small.


  posted at 10:30 PM

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