Having a sick baby for the last 2 weeks and 4 days (but whose counting?) has been a challenge and yet the most wonderful time thus far in motherhood. I've stretched, grown and loved in such great ways during this period that all I can do is reflect and be grateful I get to have this experience. I'm sure you're thinking, "your baby being sick has been your greatest time as a mother?" while rolling your eyes and thinking I'm coo coo but honestly there is an intimacy that comes when caring for a child who is sick, quiet moments of gentle and genuine comfort, heart breaking moments of crying and pain that are followed by a deeper bond of love and trust as my son knows he can expect to be comforted and soothed. Those are the moments I never knew I'd longed for but that my soul truly does.
I try, even now as I lay next to my peacefully sleeping son, to memorize each of these precious moments over the last two weeks and 4 days and even though some of them are still so fresh I find most are already slipping away into the past. I lay here and silently grieve that likely in years to come I will forget how intimate and filled with wonder these moments are. I will forget the details of how my son smelt, his warm skin against mine, his little lips pursing and instinctively sucking despite there being nothing in his mouth, his chubby little hands resting gently on his chest, his quiet consistent breathing with a little rattle as evidence of his lingering cold, how happy I am to care for this little boy. Why must these details slip away as time does?
I ponder often how to best hold onto these memories - I find pictures do so little justice and words don't seem quite adequate to fully preserve even just this one moment I'm experiencing now. Maybe it's just me, I see a lot of others take pictures constantly to preserve moments but I'd much rather be in the moment then take a picture of it. I secretly grieve at that too sometimes, I don't have as many pictures as I'd like.
I'm hoping, through all my desire to preserve these memories, moments and emotions that I'll instead, by being present, create such a bond with my son that these moments will never end. Sure, they'll change. But they'll continue in their new manner. Perhaps if I continue to be there, in each moment, in 10 years from now I'll be memorizing a similar moment just with an older child - perhaps that moment will hold all of the same things this one does but even stronger as it'll hold a history of consistently present moments.
Perhaps it's not about holding on so much as it is being here and letting go of the rest.