It’s been a long time since we regularly rocked Maya to bed. Pretty much once she moved into her big-girl bed, she stopped wanting to be held and though it pained me to give up that special time, I also knew she wanted her independence and, well, who am I to stand in the way of a strong, independent little woman in the making?!
Every so often, however, she gets clingy at bed-time and whispers “Rock me, Mommy,” after she has already been tucked in.
Without fail, the maternal instinct to cuddle my young trumps the the exhausted, very pregnant, very uncomfortable side of me, which finds it hard to rock her with my aching back and bulging belly in the way.
In spite of this, I do it anyway. I find a way for her to fit on my “lap” with her little body draped over my shoulder … because I know she won’t ask me to rock her forever.
Because though I want to be an amazing mom to her always, I know she won’t want to hug me in a couple years, let alone acknowledge my mere existence.
And because I know that the mother-daughter relationship — while incredible and awe-inspiring — can (and surely will) be fraught with tension as she grows up and asserts herself … and then, just like with my mom and I, one day we will turn in our swords and be the best of friends once again.
So I shift myself around a couple times and let her bury her head in my neck, smelling her sweet, berry-scented shampoo and listen to the sound of her heart beating next to mine.
And then, as I am mesmerized by my daughter’s presence in my arms, he [who has no name] kicks. And rolls. And punches. And hiccups. She doesn’t know what’s happening, but I do. It’s the start of something beautiful: the brother-sister/sibling relationship I have cherished my whole life; one I am beyond excited for her to experience.
And in a funny way, it’s as it should be. She’s my first born … and she has her place. But he has a place, too, and it was almost like he was letting her know, “Hey, I’m coming!”
I’m getting it now; what my mom has said all along. There is enough love in my heart for both of them. They each have a place … in my heart, and — soon enough — in my arms.