WARNING: Sappy mommy post ahead.
When I took her into her room and cheerfully announced that it was nap time, R (21 months) wasted no time expressing her displeasure. But as soon as we settled into the big blue recliner and I positioned her so that her head was nestled in the crook of my arm, her cheek snuggled against my chest, she resigned herself to her fate.
I gazed into her murky green-blue eyes, and she stared back, our eyes locked in mutual admiration and wonder at the love between us. After a few minutes, her gaze began to lose focus as she grudgingly yielded to sleep. Her eyelids slowly dropped, covering her glassy eyes like teeny shades, her eyelashes casting a shadow on her soft cheek.
As her breathing grew heavy I continued to rock, drinking in the sound of her even breathing and the scent of baby shampoo, avoiding for as long as possible the bathrooms that were begging to be cleaned.
I tried to memorize her features — the strawberry-colored lips parted to reveal
two shiny white teeth that are a little too large for her mouth, the small chip that is a casualty of one of
her many calamities — the lone freckle above her right eye, the first of many to come if her father and I are any indication — the bulbous little nose — the smooth baby skin with a hint of suntan from too many mornings in the summer sun.
Hers is no longer the face of a baby, but the face of a toddler on the brink of her second birthday. Even though we still refer to her as The Baby and probably will for many years, the vestiges of babyhood are disappearing at an alarming rate. I find it so hard not to mourn each passing stage, and yet I always enjoy each one that replaces the last. I must remember this.
I could have easily sat and rocked for an hour, but the bathrooms were beckoning. So with a sigh of resignation, I placed her in her crib where she flopped over on her back with her legs spread-eagle and exhaled a contented breath, a sure sign of sound sleep.
I tip-toed out of the room, silently shut the door, and turned towards the bathroom.