Oh sweet girl, we snapped this of you before you went to school today. How are you 6 months old today? I feel like I held you for the first time just yesterday.
The last few nights have been long, bouncing from room to room and bassinet to crib to arms to both of us nearly in tears. I want to ease your teething pain, I want to help you through your leaps and growth. I want to take away your pain.
You’ve out grown your bassinet. I was hoping to keep you in it another week and then move you to your crib after vacation, but those long legs of yours have other ideas. I moved you to your crib around 10pm last night. After watching how restless you were I couldn’t sleep myself. I thought I’d sleep so well with you being in your own room since I’m such a light sleeper, but I couldn’t sleep at all. I missed you. I missed knowing you were an arm’s reach away, often falling asleep with a hand on your back. I missed turning on your bassinet light and watching you sleep, wondering what you dream about. I missed the way you smell, fresh out of the bath, lotioned up, and sweet milk on your breath. So, I snuck into your room, turned on your nightlight, counted your breaths and got lost in your curls. I fell asleep in the LA-Z-Boy in your room. It was another long night, and I’d love to say we both woke up at 6am bright eyed and bushy tailed with the birds chirping, but we both know that didn’t happen. You nursed at 2am, and couldn’t get comfortable after. You’ve recently taken to sleeping on your tummy and it’s a new thing for you that you aren’t so sure about. We moved back to mommy’s bedroom and I watched you roll over and tuck your knees up. Another reminder at just how big you’ve gotten. Oh, those teeth just wouldn’t quit last night. We were up again at 4am. I held you tight to my body, kissing your head and making sure you knew you weren’t alone as you cried and fussed. I rubbed your gums and let you nurse back to sleep. And then we did what I vowed we’d never ever ever do…what we’ve been doing for the last month every night starting at 4am. You find your way into our bed. I wake up Daddy and tell him you’re next to me, so he moves to the far edge and I scoot to the middle. I pull your bassinet to the edge of the bed to prevent a fall. I move all the covers off of me and let you latch while I’m on my side. I won’t let you in before 4am because once you’re in I don’t sleep deeply. I doze while you (side lye) nurse and sleep. Sometimes if I feel myself too sleepy I move you back to your bassinet, but usually I just doze. I remind myself that it won’t be like this forever. I wake up to you poking my eye and grabbing my nose. I plead for another 5 minutes. Daddy entertains you until I can get my bearings. And just like that, you’re another day older. Another morning is here. And while I’m running on little sleep, it’s perfectly fine. I consider myself fortunate that I function extremely well off of 5 broken hours. I consider myself fortunate that I have you to thank for it. I consider myself fortunate that I have you.
Your Daddy says I love this “baby baby stage” more than most. I explained to him that it’s not that I love it, but that I love you, my sweet, sweet rainbow baby. You are starting to understand object permanence and the world is a big scary place. I hate to think that you are scared. You are still learning to self-soothe and it’s up to me to teach you how to regulate your emotions by remaining calm, loving and empathetic. You have so many needs that you can’t vocalize yet, and while I try to meet them, I’m certain I fall short, so the least I can do is respond with sensitivity until I figure out what exactly you’re trying to tell me. Some days it feels like we go round and round before we figure it out, and some days I get it on the first try. I won’t ever let you cry it out, but I’ll let you struggle a little. I’ll let you try to figure it out before I come to your rescue, but rest assured, my sweet baby, I will always come to your rescue because you rescued me.
A friend recently asked me what it’s like to be a mother. I paused for a moment and thought before responding. How do I try to sum up the last 6 months? I can’t, but I tried. I told her that I knew I loved you while you were in my tummy, but I didn’t understand just how much until I held you in my arms. That this is the hardest, most important job I’ve ever had. That the love I feel is inexplicable. That I now struggle to remember life before you, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure that I want to. She paused and thought carefully before responding with, “Oh, I just meant it looks really exhausting” and how she hasn’t seen me without Starbucks since having you. When explaining motherhood, exhausting never crossed my mind. Is it? Absolutely, but it didn’t even cross my mind as I choked back tears thinking of what a journey the last 6 months has been. And between you and me, lil lady, it’s half caffeine because the full caffeinated stuff keeps mommy awake and hurts your little tummy.
So, here we are. Even at 6 months I struggle leaving you at school on Tuesdays and Thursday. I miss you every moment you’re away from my being. You are my missing piece. I can’t wait to see where the next 6 months, 6 years, 16 years and hopefully 60 years takes us together. We’ll go through walking, talking, making friends, graduations, boyfriends or girlfriends or maybe even both, heart breaks, jobs, and life. I certainly won’t have all of the answers, but one thing I do know is that I promise to love you as much as I did the moment I saw you. I promise that I will give you every ounce of my being, and that while you may not always like me, I will always love you. I will always have your best interest at heart. I will always strive to make you better than I am. Give you more than I have. Encourage you to dream bigger than I ever could. And never settle. Never settle.
Because you, Brooke, my sweet, silly Monster, have given me everything I could possibly ever ask for, so in return, I will give you my all.