Just how much I love you

Just how much I love you

Every time I look at you when you sleep, I remember the way you felt the first time I held you.

Warm and wiggly, you were lighter in my arms than you seemed to be in my belly. A trace of blood kissed your chin, so as gently as I could, I brushed my thumb across its curve to wipe away the red. Your skin was soft, but papery-thin, a fragile reminder of your newness to the world. And as I pulled you close, my heartbeat sped up to match your own — creating the song the two of us would forever sing together.

I remember the way I felt: While I was overcome with so many wonderful emotions, I was also filled with worry. I didn’t know how to be a mother. How would I learn? Would it be easy? Would it be hard? (Looking back now I can say it was easier than I thought, but countless sleepless nights, the loss of self I seemed to experience, and struggles with breastfeeding seemed insurmountable at times.) And then there was my greatest fear of all: What if I wasn’t up to this task? What if I failed you?

I still sometimes feel a twinge of the overwhelming pressure of motherhood when I soak up your sleepy sweetness. Since you don’t nap anymore (and let’s be honest, you barely did when you were younger), I see this face late at night, when the day has been long, when tiredness is soaked deep into my bones — or in the early morning, when the demands of the upcoming day are relentlessly knocking too loudly to ignore.

But those feelings fade fast, replaced by a distant ache for the life-changing moment your eyes finally fluttered open and met my own. We looked at one another, and I simply just knew. In that small universe our bodies created, there was a silent acknowledgment between our souls that, together, we could do this.

And now, years later, here we are, you asleep by my side, too big to be nestled in my arms anymore. You’re softly snoring, and your cold feet are tucked under my legs, and you’re hogging half the bed — and even though hundreds of my fears dance delicately between a thousand of our memories, there it is.

The feeling I have — the one I’ve always had with you — that’s the strongest, and most important, one of all:

Just how much I love you.

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