Cuddle Time

Last week, our little town had a Halloween festival where all the local businesses handed out candy. Mark can’t walk and doesn’t eat candy, so we mostly played on the swings and grass. At one point, I observed a child about Mark’s age sitting on a blanket on the grass surrounded by family. The baby just sat there and smiled while family members made faces and played with her.

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I literally can’t remember the last time Mark sat still on a blanket. His desire to explore and figure out how everything works seems to take over the second his hands and feet hit the floor each morning. Toys are no match for him. Mark climbs over anything in his path and has recently figured out how to climb up his toy car and onto the couch. Even as a newborn, Mark hated to be swaddled and preferred to sprawl out wherever he was sleeping. He has always been a high-energy child.

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Although it is tiring, I love this about Mark. Chasing him around the room as he giggles uncontrollably and watching him explore his surroundings is lots of fun!

Sometimes, however, I crave cuddle time with my squirmy little boy. I didn’t get an opportunity to cuddle his sister for very long, so I’ve learned to appreciate each hug that Mark gives me. However, I admit that occasionally I let the business of life distract me from what is really important.

This evening, as Mark nursed before bed, I scrolled through Facebook and caught up reading emails on my phone as I thought about all of the things I needed to accomplish tomorrow. I’m sure there are many mommies out there who can relate to that scene. After about ten minutes, I looked down, and Mark was passed out asleep. The poor kid had tubes put in his ears today and was both off schedule and exhausted. I guess it should have come as no surprise that he fell asleep so quickly.

Since Mark is a high-energy child, opportunities to cuddle with him are typically limited to when he is sleeping or sick. I began to feel a bit guilty about being distracted the last ten minutes. I put my phone down and just stared at his perfect little face as he breathed softly and clutched his stuffed puppy. All I could think about was how incredibly blessed I am to be Mark’s “mama.”

I thought about how he has started pointing to our family pictures and babbling at them. I thought about how he has started to occasionally take a few steps towards toys. I thought about how he babbles “mama” and “dada” like he is having a conversation with us. I thought about how much he loves to pick up food, open his mouth while saying “ahhhh,” trying to get me to do the same thing so that he can feed me. I thought about how he loves his stuffed puppy and will go get it from across the room if you ask him. I thought about how he is constantly giggling at things that we say and do. I thought about how he loves to ride on his dad’s shoulders. I thought about the huge smile he normally gives me when I come to get him from the crib each morning. I thought about how he loves to wave to his dad each evening when I bring him up the stairs to nurse before bed.

I thought about the many wonderful things that make my sweet baby boy unique and perfect.

After a while, I carried Mark to his crib. He continued to sleep peacefully in my arms like he did when he was only a few weeks old. I thanked God for the gift of my son, and for the reminder that the days go by far too quickly. I prayed that I would remember to appreciate each moment. One day I am going to blink, and my squirmy baby boy will be leaving for college.

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