And I’m happy about that. And when I say I celebrate that, I really mean it. But it was like being slapped upside the head with a cinder block and it took me a bit by surprise.
Same old song and dance before bed.
Bath was given – not a “separated bath”. Teeth were brushed. And Cara and I snuggled into her sheets and comforter to read The Lost Children.
Except this time, we had a new listener…OK…two since Sophie was in the bed too. Oliver cuddled up with Cara’s pillow and was determined that HE was going to listen to the night’s chapter as well.
Of course, five minutes into the story, Tucker came in and took a protesting Ollie into his own bed but for a few minutes, we were one big ball of story reading mess.
As I read the chapter to Cara, I could hear Oliver hollering “MOMMA!” and I stopped a couple of times to listen, just to make sure I didn’t need to go in and relieve Tucker.
Once the chapter was done, I tucked Cara in, kissed her forehead and told her, “Goodnight.”
Only to be met with Oliver pounding on his door.
I pushed past Ollie as I made my way into his dark room and told him it was time to go to sleep. Of course this was met with howls and “STOP!!!” since he obviously was in no mood to be told what to do.
I picked up my bucking son and cuddled him close to me as I sat on the edge of his toddler bed.
He folded his arms against his chest, put his head on my shoulder and hummed to me. I’m not quite sure what tune he was humming but he was content with it and I wedged my chin in the crevice of the back of his neck and rocked him.
If I had known he wasn’t asleep, I never would have attempted to put him into his bed and the second I put him on his pillow, he was up like a little meerkat and fussing – though not really crying.
I asked him if he wanted to hear a story. When he nodded an affirmative, I realized I had no story made up; I drew a complete blank.
And then the wind rushed past Ollie’s window and I remembered the first night I ever spent with him.
And I told him about that night – the first night I ever spent away from his sister. The first night I ever held him in my arms and told him a story. The first night I ever nursed him to sleep.
But instead of nursing my son to sleep, I talked to him; I whispered into his ear.
I told him about the nurses making bets about how much he weighed since he was such a big boy and they were all so surprised such a big boy had come out of me.
I told him about the violent, violent storm that had raged that first night and how I had nursed him while standing at my room’s window, watching the storm rage outside and struck by the dichotomy. Me on one side with this brand new baby and the weather on the other side, hell-bent on destroying everything.
I told him about how proud I was of him. About how much he had changed. About how he was still my “Sunshine Boy” even if he had developed a pronounced attitude here recently.
By the time I had run out of things to tell him, Oliver had pulled his blanket up to his chin and his eyelids were obviously heavy.
I sat by his bed for a minute or two and then got up and left his room – pulling the door closed behind me.
No cries. No banging on the door. Absolute silence.
It wasn’t until I went into our bedroom to see what Tucker was doing that I realized Oliver hadn’t nursed. Not that that was necessarily an odd occurrence since he’s down to one nursing session a day – usually early morning – but anytime I’m next to him in a bed, he assumes it’s time to nurse.
Last night, he never even asked.
He’s growing up and he’s my last baby. He’s the last child I will ever nurse and I feel like I should feel sad. Like I should mourn this passing but I don’t.
Like him moving out of his crib, this is just another step in a long line of steps.
And I think those steps are to be celebrated and not mourned.