Her tiny body—a little astronaut, I joke, in her footie pajamas, “docked” on me—lies across mine, her face pressed against me as she nurses, her tiny curled fist resting on my chest.
I run the palm of my hand from the top of her downy head down to her forehead, smoothing down her black hair as I go.
I nurse, we snuggle, I marvel. And this little routine of ours never gets old, even though I do it half a dozen times a day. And yet shockingly, I have the same thought nearly every time.
How did I ever forget?
How did I forget how little they start? How did I forget just how big these little moments really are?
I have learned a lot from my first child to my third—how to nurse, how to sleep (and not sleep), how to change a diaper with ninja-like quickness in the dark at 3am, what to call the doctor for and not call, and so, so much more—and yet this question comes back to me—because somehow it’s true, I forgot—but how?
How did I forget that smell on the top of her head? The quiver in her mouth when she unlatches from nursing? That my lips fit perfectly on her soft temple? That my outstretched hand spans her whole back—her WHOLE back! How did I forget it all?
And most of all, How did I forget how quickly it goes?
One day in the too-near future she will be big like her sister, even bigger like her brother. Running, talking, asking why, fighting, testing boundaries, asking for space. Needing me so much less than she does right now.
And I’m sure by that point—even though I’ll have worked so hard not to—by then, I’ll have forgotten some of these small moments I’m holding on so tightly to right now.
But tonight, she’s my baby. And I’m going to soak in every last snuggle just like this.