Lulu is in a cling to Mama phase {or at least what I think is a phase}. She won’t let anyone else hold her. Not even poor Daddy who tries so hard for a snuggle. She struggles to play by herself unless Mama is sitting next to her. She won’t take a nap unless I hold her. And car rides are a nightmare because she can’t see me. I love how much she loves me. I love how special our bond is. But,  it would be nice to get to work on time at least once a week. I would like my house to look like a family lives in it and not a pack of wild animals.  Sometimes I would like to eat a meal without a toddler on my lap who steals all my food. And sometimes I just want to pee alone. It would be nice to not have to juggle a child {and the ten stuffed animals she insists on holding} while I try to get dressed. Putting a shirt on is now a 5 minute ordeal.

Everyone has said ‘she needs to learn that you can’t always hold her’, ‘just let her cry’ and ‘she’ll get over it’. I started to follow this advice. I would put her down or refuse to pick her up if I was in the middle of doing something. Her eyes would swell up and she would cry out ‘Mama’ over and over again. My heart broke every time tears rolled down her face but I convinced myself that this was what was best for both of us. She needed to gain independence and I needed some space to get things accomplished.

This went on for about a week. And then the posts started. The first day of school posts. All these children were headed to their first day of Kindergarten. It felt as if I was just liking their ‘Welcome to the World’ posts and now they were already five years old headed off to school. All the moms were commenting how quickly time flies and how sad they were that their little baby had disappeared before their eyes.  There was one post though that wasn’t like the others. The post that changed everything for me. It was a post that was going viral. I didn’t know the woman who wrote it. I didn’t know the specifics of her situation. But she reminded me of something I had forgotten as I was rushing through life. Time with your children is precious. She didn’t have a bright smiling Kindergartner in her picture. There was no sign saying her child’s likes and dislikes. There was nothing. Her child had passed away. She would have been starting her first day of school but instead she was taken from this world way too soon. I cried for this Mama. I cried because this world is an unfair place. I cried for that baby because she had so much more life left to live. But I also cried because I knew that Mama would give anything to hold her baby again. She would happily stop all of her meaningless daily tasks to be with her baby. And here I was trying this ‘new’ approach. I was wasting invaluable time that we could be spending together because I was trying to teach her some kind of life lesson.

I was the one who needed the life lesson. This phase isn’t an inconvenience, it is a blessing. Life is too unpredictable to take it for granted. How lucky am I to have someone who wants to enjoy every minute with me? How lucky am I that my sweet baby is comforted just by being in my arms? How lucky am I that I get to spend my days with her? The luckiest.

I’m sure it wasn’t easy for that Mama to share her story but I am so grateful she did. She didn’t share it in vain. I am going to hug Lulu a little longer today. I am going to hold her for naps and rock her to sleep at night. I am going to pick her up anytime she says ‘Mama’ with her arms reached out. I’m going to bend down and hug her every time she grabs onto my leg. No matter how long the car ride, I’m going to reach my hand in the backseat and touch her face so she knows I’m still there. I’m going to sit on the floor and play for hours. It doesn’t matter what is waiting for me outside of those play room doors.  This is what matters in life. One day I will finish my ‘to do’ list at work, I will get all the laundry done, I will make a four course home cooked meal and the house will be spotless. But not right now. My baby needs me. Everything else can wait.

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