In the beginning of your life there were three: your father, you and me. We thrived for six wonderful weeks free from the hassle of commutes and the distractions of office work.
When dad returned to work, it was just you and me, I wasn’t quite sure how it would be. It hasn’t always been easy but it has always been marvelous. Although it surpasses the depth of words, I will try to paint for you a picture of the most special time in my life and the most precious memories that you have given me.
Early afternoon weekday walks through our neighborhood, you watch the seasons change slowly for the first time from your seat, catching glimpses of falling leaves, jack o’ lanterns, wreaths, then trees banished to the curbside.
As a sleepy newborn with closed eyes you raise your eyebrows and jut out your lower chin, seeking out my nipple.
When you awake from night’s slumber we partake in our morning routine, opening blinds and bidding good morning to each room and your reflection in the mirror.
I watch the wonder in your eyes when you feel your first rain and we hunker down, not leaving the warm walls of the house as the rain patters softly around us.
Your eyes droop closed while nursing, your cherub cheeks so still and perfect as your rhythmic suckling slows gently to a mere instinctual reflex and I let you sleep on my breast in the house’s midday silence while I read a mystery novel.
The smiles you elicit from strangers midweek at the grocery store while I show you where we find our food and fill the cart’s cupholder with a Starbucks treat.
I chart the shadows of the house at the tail end of summer, learning when they allow for blanket time in the backyard as you learn to lift your head steadily.
Unaware of the hour, we accidently mix with the backpack clad children walking to school while we are enroute to the local coffee shop, I daydream about how you’ll look at that age.
Errands that I used to drive to become excuses for exercise, another opportunity to show you the world through the vantage point of your stroller.
We watch the cars clear one side of the street for the weekly sweeping, and push past the sweeper driver and parking enforcement officer casually chatting on a crisp morning.
Unexpected cuddles transform my afternoon and I forgo my loosely made plans in favor of the soft warmth of your skin on mine as we lazily watch a Lifetime movie.
I retrieve my mixer and show you how to bake holiday goodies that we take to the neighbors who smile sweetly at you and your wild hair, strapped snuggly to my chest.
We hear tales of traffic on the morning news and I imagine its snarling storm around us while we are nestled comfortably in our little neighborhood bubble.
I let you carve the path of my agenda-free days: feed you on demand, snuggle you when you’re tired, and move through each room in the house to entertain you.
From the library’s alphabet carpet you smile shyly at the other babies with their nannies and look anxiously for me while perched on your tummy.
Monday morning at 9am we join the other littles for a swimming lesson in place of the staff meetings I once endured.
Always vigilant of your safety, I dial deeply into the neighborhood routines and anticipate each jogger and dog walker’s passage on our street.
The coming of the garbage truck is a weekly milestone, and we take note of when it comes and goes.
We follow the Amazon delivery van from house to house, you in your stroller—blissfully unaware of how many of your accessories came into our home that way.
We burrow so deeply into the house that we become familiar with microclimate that shifts diurnally and I adjust the layers of your clothes to your comfort.
You watch in fascination as the patterns of sunlight dance across the living room in late afternoon, I marvel at how they differ from season to season.
I bring you to the studio for your first yoga class and you roll across the shining wooden floors while I attempt my first sun salutation as a mother.
Your little hand grabs at my favorite ceramic mug as I sit leisurely sipping my morning coffee, smugly pleased at the retirement of the travel mug.
We indulge in the independence to feed on demand: you free from the confines of a clocked bottle and me liberated from the mediocrity of a boxed lunch.
I tell my friends they can come over anytime to meet you and I mean it, our schedule can be molded around theirs.
When you struggle with sleep overnight I am up to comfort without hesitation or complaint since the next day presents no hurried obligations or mental challenges.
We shoo away the neighborhood cats that come to play with a mouse in our backyard because they assume we are all away for the day.
You teach me a whole new meaning of prioritization, your beautiful smile is my day’s only true goal.
I make time for weekday phone conversations with friends who are all so excited to meet you.
The intimacy between us knows no bounds as I have been with you every day of your life, cherishing the nuances of your bowel movements, your naps and your meals.
We bask in the apricity of our little corner of the world and I wonder if you remember the sunflowers of summer that used to line these streets.
When we get a late start to our walk, we are joined by the cars returning one by one from the outside world as the empty driveways begin to fill.
Untethered from time’s obligations, I rock you to sleep in your clockless room, cherishing the soft stillness of your skin on mine, not knowing or caring how long it takes.
Our walking route shifts and meanders as the days grow shorter and I grow stronger, we add a jog up the hill to the river vista.
I read your favorite books so often that I have committed them to memory, adding new inflections to the stories as I please.
We attend your first music class, you make friends and learn Christmas music rhymes while mom and dad smile and sing to you proudly.
Laying on the couch, we FaceTime with grandma filling the hour between your afternoon nap and dinner preparations.
Our relationship is priceless, so deeply intimate that our bodies still merge as one for your feeding several times a day.
When strangers join us, you look around anxiously for me and give them a big sad lip, crying until you are in my arms again.
We take a field trip to Garden Grove to enjoy a picnic lunch in the park with Aunt Ellen.
I lounge in moments of calm and silence gazing at you lovingly through your baby monitor while you snooze peacefully in your crib—happy to rest but excited to see your smile again.
I am deeply familiar with the daily pattern of your eyes, from their wide early morning excitement to the drowsy fluttering droop after your evening bedtime story.
We walk to the wetlands daily where we monitor the water level and marvel at the colony of ducks that shifts through the seasons.
You gave me this new and wonderous life as mama and transformed my perception of the life of a stay-at-home mom from skeptical to envious.
I will forever be thankful for the luxury of reflecting on this time in months and seasons rather than days and weeks.
I will never forget the beauty and bliss of these minute moments and the intimacy we’ve shared during your beautiful first six months of life.