I just spent the last hour holding my 5 year old (almost kindergarten!) son as he slept on my shoulder. I held him, let the house messes go, decided to ignore the phone call coming in, tuned out the world around me. And I held him. I smelled his sweaty head, felt his still small hands on my belly, the weight of him so warm and snuggly. I patted his soft curls, the smooth skin of his arm.
And then I cried.
I cried because it had been so long since the last time he was curled up on me, asleep. I cried because suddenly, there I was back when he was a baby, with some long ago muscle memory triggering an emotional response. Remembering holding my baby boy like that – sweet, soft, safe from the world. I cried because some part of me still feels those days. Those days when he was a tiny baby, when he was my whole world and I was his, when I was learning how to do the mom thing while wading through the muck of my own emotions.
Five years later, here’s what I’m learning. The big emotions, the larger than life feelings that gripped me back then – they don’t entirely go away. They shift, they change, they soften, but there still can be a piece of them with me. What I notice these days is that I make space for them to move through me, they do, and new form emerges. The challenge is that the daily grind of motherhood doesn’t leave much space for raw feeling to flow. All our joys and sorrows and challenge and growth leave an impression on us, but often, in the busy-ness of the day to day world we end up pushing the seemingly no big deal moments aside, thinking they shouldn’t affect us. But they do. They get stored somewhere inside the body’s memory bank, and eventually bubble over when time and space allows for them.
I believe this is what happened with my boy today. The end of the school year was a complete whirlwind, in so many ways. Many parts of myself got bogged down in the doing, and forgot about the being. A couple weeks into summer, I was relaxed enough to remember. For my body to find places within itself that had gone missing over the fast paced course of the school year. Slow summer days are meant for feeling, for connecting with the deeper pieces of our souls.
I remembered that we must make space for doing nothing. For when we do “nothing” we are actually creating the space we need to feel everything. It is in the quiet times that our heart tells us what we need. What we know. My emotions have been catching up to me during these early days of summer. I’ve been resting in them, trusting them, and living them. I believe we need to continue to do this in order to keep growing and learning. It is an ongoing cycle, new layers emerging as older ones fade. All important, all a part of the process.
Holding my baby boy today felt like a time warp. He was no longer the 5 year old figuring out his space and power in the bigger world – he was my baby. The same baby I counted the moments to meet, anxious all the way. The baby who taught me how to start becoming myself, the baby who pushed me into a whole new world.
I’ve been through thousands of emotions since the days before his pregnancy, birth, and first five years. But always the constant remains love. A deep and humble love.
It was an indescribable moment, today, this one-ness with my son and the time travel feeling. I’m grateful for the space to have found it.
Beautiful ones, find your space. This road is bumpy. Parenting after Loss brings with it so many layers of emotion. Where can you find places this summer to stop? To slow down? To feel? To allow emotions, new and old, to find a way to your being? They are important. They are oh so important.