The Ice-Cream Can Wait


It was a long week, but doesn't every week feel like a long week? I made it to "bed-time," and I made it to Friday. After 5 days of parenting three small children pretty much on my own, nothing sounded sweeter than the respite of another set of hands. Another person to bear the weight. Another person to acknowledge the endless chatter, to answer the endless questions, to make the endless snacks, to clean the endless messes, to wipe the endless tushies.

Not only did I make it to the weekend, but I made it to the very short but very sweet time of day that is just for me. I take care of myself – and nobody else. I watch tv. I sit on the couch without getting up. I rest. I zone out. I recover. I eat.

The house had been quite for one glorious hour, and I decided to wander off to the kitchen. Did she hear me? Did she sense me? Did she know I was trying to relax as long as I possibly could before falling asleep and repeating it all over again? I opened the freezer and pulled out the container of ice-cream, and I heard her.

I was about to serve myself a scoop of ice-cream, but my baby wanted to lay with me.

Why now, I wondered? Can't I get some time to myself?? Can't I just eat this delicious ice-cream? After unsuccessfully letting her "cry-it-out" for a while, I put the ice-cream back in the freezer, carried my baby out of the room she shares with her sisters, and laid with her in my bed. When she wakes during the night and can't fall back asleep on her own, we do this. We lay together and she goes to sleep. We've done it since she was a newborn.

I was about to serve myself a scoop of ice-cream, but my baby wanted to lay with me.

I hoped she would fall back asleep quickly, so I could have my time back. The only time I get all day. She fidgeted and babbled for a few minutes, touching me with her tiny feet and hands. She gradually drifted off to sleep, and I laid watching her. I rested my hand on her soft belly, and I watched her sleepy profile in the dark.

I was about to serve myself a scoop of ice-cream, but my baby wanted to lay with me.

I thought about how I never would've done this with her sisters, because they were twins and I couldn't indulge two babies in this sort of thing. I wondered if it was better to sleep train babies so they didn't need to lay with their mother to fall back asleep. But then I felt the weight of her body against me, and I felt the warmth of her space in my bed, and I felt the rush of love for this person I made, and I thought – how lovely is this moment that I get to lay with my baby?

I was about to serve myself a scoop of ice-cream, but my baby wanted to lay with me.

I forgot about the ice-cream, and let her linger in my bed for a while longer before carrying her back to her own. As we cuddled I felt her slipping through my fingers. I felt the heaviness of time changing those small soft baby legs into longer leaner toddler legs. I stared at her face and wondered if I would remember this moment months from now. Years from now.

I was about to serve myself a scoop of ice-cream, but my baby wanted to lay with me.

I thought I had been at the end of my parenting day. I was celebrating the fact that I was officially done "momming" for the day, and then I was called back in. The funny thing about motherhood is just as you feel like you can't take anymore, when you feel like all you want to do is be alone and eat ice-cream, you are called back into duty. You are called back into duty, because you are never officially off duty. But the even stranger part is that you always find it within yourself to keep on truckin'. You re-fill water cups, re-adjust blankets, change wet crib sheets, shoo away monsters, take temperatures in the dark, give medicine, and check the clock. You pause your show, and go back to your children. You pick up the crying baby and soothe her back to sleep. You do these things, even when you're too tired, even when you don't want to, because there is a force within you that implores you to carry on.

I was about to serve myself a scoop of ice-cream, but my baby wanted to lay with me.

And while you're kissing heads and walking kids back to bed, you look over at your sleeping baby and think: yeah, I can make time to cuddle. Because you know that when you wake up in the morning, it will all look a bit different. They will all be a little longer, a little less wobbly, a little funnier, a little smarter, a little less your baby. And this part of motherhood will be a fading memory.

I was about to serve myself a scoop of ice-cream, but my baby wanted to lay with me.

#motherhood #parenthood #bedtime #toddlers #babies #twins #selfcare #sacrifice #strength

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