I just finished rocking Callen to sleep for his nap.  Lately, this little activity stirs emotion in me like no other.  I know that the days of rocking are numbered.  He’s 20 months old now, and getting more independent by the day.  In his waking hours, he’s an active go-getter: climbing, chasing, talking, throwing, exploring, and making messes along the way.  A virtual mini-man, he’s hard-headed, humorous, and hungry.

But, for those few minutes between when we wrestle pajamas on and when I lay him down in his crib, he is my sweet, cuddly baby boy; happy to nestle his head beneath my chin and share a book.  When the book is finished (for the second or third time), he helps me turn out the light, and I ask him if he wants me to sing him a song.  He always nods yes.  We rock and sing for a while.  I kiss him on the forehead and bury my nose in his hair between stanzas.  He points to his nose, then mine; his eyes, then mine; his ear, then mine.

It’s during this time that my emotions stir.  The cuddles, the closeness, the feel of his little hands on my face all fill me with a combination of comfort and panic.  The comfort comes from feeling the unspoken love between mother and child that surfaces during moments such as this.  On the other hand, the dramatic part of my brain wastes no time in fast forwarding right through Callen’s childhood to a point in time when he is a 20-year-old college student who only calls when he needs money.  What will I do when my baby is gone and I have no one to rock?  My throat literally begins to close up, and my heart beat quickens.  I steal another forehead kiss and take a deep breath of little boy hair smell to calm myself. This is how siblings come to be.  I can completely understand how one of these rocking sessions could cause many a mommy to run straight from cribside to wherever her husband may be and advance on him with the specific goal of not having to leave that baby years behind. Luckily, my dramatic brain can still be overruled by my logistic brain, which reminds me that Rechkemmer babies don’t sleep through the night for the entire first year.

When the singing is done, he reaches up and hugs me with both arms, kisses me, and we rub noses Eskimo style.  “I love you,” I whisper to him as I lay him in his crib.  “Yuv yuuu,” he whispers back.