A Time to Hold

I intended to write about potty training today until I picked up my little boy and felt inspired to go another direction.

My little guy needs me.  He needs me so much that he cries if any other person tries to hold him, including his dad.  This past week he has been sick.  Really sick.  This has only intensified his desire that I hold him all the time.   In a recent conversation with a friend, she remarked that it must be difficult to have a child who refuses to be comforted by anyone other than me.  I can’t remember my response but I don’t think I adequately expressed how I truly feel about this situation.   Call this my written response.

When Emily was a just born and tiny baby I knew I wanted to cherish every moment I had with her.  At that time, Ben and I were both attending school full-time.  Our days were filled with homework and parenting duties and I often felt I spent more time doing the latter rather than the former.  At one point, after bemoaning my situation incessantly inside my head, I felt it was time to stop complaining and truly enjoy every moment I spent with Emily rather than crying that I didn’t have more.  I also decided to cherish all her stages–good and bad–and not spend time wishing she were older or more mobile or could talk.

Embracing my new philosophy, I found delight in her day-to-day activities and did not despair as she continued to grow (mentally not physically) at an alarming rate.

This thinking has continued with Andrew.  Even though it does feel inconvenient at times to have him attached to my hip, I remember that he won’t always want me to hold him.  There will come a day when he might push me away.  When my importance will diminish as he enters that vast world of pre-teen and teenagedom.  And then he will grow up, move away, and find [a different] love in another woman’s arms.

So, right now I appreciate how much he loves and needs me.  I relish the moments I have holding him close and smelling his delicious scent.  I kiss his head, hands, and face and feel that familiar tug of deep and indescribable love for this child that my husband and I created together.

At the same time, as he continues to grow (he will be 2 this year!) I don’t feel sad. I recognize the importance of maturity. I also know my place is to raise him, and his sister, to be responsible, virtuous, charitable, and many other things so they can one day be mindful adults and citizens of the world.

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Filed under Non-judgmental parenting

18 responses to “A Time to Hold

  1. My third baby is like that, LOVES to be held and snuggled. I'm learning more and more to just relax and love it. I've had those comments from people at church about how tiring it must be to have a baby that needs me so much, but I know how fast babies grow, and I know that I will miss it when she gets bigger.

  2. I find it so hard to just stop and enjoy snuggling my babies. My mind always races with the laundry that needs folding, the dishes that need washing, the dinner that needs cooking, the floors that need cleaning, and on and on.

    I know that one day all too soon they won't want to be snuggled and I'll kick myself for having squandered this precious time. Thanks for the reminder, and I hope your little guy is on the mend soon.

  3. My youngest being almost 7 (next week!), I am finding more and more opportunities to relish in the little things. Things that will be lost soon enough. I don't need to rush them away, nor do I want to. I love how you just "make up your mind". It seems so hard, but I think it's really as simple as that.

  4. My husband and I talk about when our daughter will stop wanting to be around us. She is always wanting to be in our space these days and sometimes I just want to be free of it, but I remind myself that these days will be numbered. Hope your little one feels better soon.

  5. Amber, I always relate to your writing. I feel as though I could have written this myself.

    My youngest will be six (!) in two weeks, and I can honestly say that I have savored every moment with her for the past four years (the first couple were a little tough). And still the time has passed too quickly. I almost ache to think of the experiences that are finished forever.

    I'm thrilled that you are able to relish both the current, needy moments and his growth in the future.

  6. Both my babies wanted to be held always. My first more. I got so many negative comments, but I loved holding those sweet babies. I still do. But my baby is getting all independent on me. Which is also good.

    I never understood what was so bad about having a babe in arms. It soothes me.

    I love the idea of just choosing to see what is and enjoy it. Time moves swiftly.

  7. Do you have one of those baby slings? My personal favorite that I've seen is The Close. It comes from the UK but LOVE the design and have friends who ADORE it. Any of the carriers will do depending on preference and really helps free up the hands for kids that want to be cuddled all the time. Mopping, cooking, vacuuming, tending to the toddler, ect all become INFINITELY easier.

  8. I used to do that for the middle of the night feedings…instead of thinking of how tired I was, I'd just try to enjoy the quiet time between the two of us.

  9. You know – today I dropped my 17-year old at his former elementary school, where he is going to be volunteering, helping an architect and his old art teacher run some after school classes for 4th and 5th graders – on architecture.

    I walked through the halls of the school that felt like a second home to me for 7 years, through both boys – rooms where I volunteered, where I sat in the back and watched little faces, where I held my own boys on my lap listening to their teachers read, where I sat proudly watching each one get an elementary school "diploma" of sorts.

    It isn't that it goes so fast exactly – when you're in it – there are days and nights that drag terribly. But when you look at a young man you've nurtured and guided and held and cherished – and you know you've given him your best, it's then, that you realize what a privilege it is. That the moments of their holding you and needing you in that way are finite. Sometimes exhausting. But mostly, very precious.

  10. Look at his little face!

  11. Melanie Jacobson

    This is the conclusion I reached with my baby too who is much clingier than her brothers. But I try to make more moments to soak it up.

  12. Hi Amber, I've seen this button and related posts on other blogs, and had always admired this meme the most and wanted to one day try my hand at it. I didn't realize it was yours! Anyway, this is my first visit here – thanks so much for your nice comment on my blog a couple of days ago!

    I think you're so wise. When my son was an infant I did, more often than I care to admit, "wish" those moments away. Like Stacia too I often found my mind leaping to the next thing I wanted to do. I knew I would regret it one day, but at that moment I just wanted my own space. Well, I have plenty of it now. My son's going to turn 7 soon, and while he is still very snuggly and still very much a mama's boy, he has alot of competing offers to spend time with his buddies now. He's my only so I don't have a second chance to do it "right." You're awesome – savor those sweet moments!

  13. I'm trying to come back.

    Michael is going to be nine this year and he is still attached at my hip. I would be lying if I said that a day felt right without having to scrape him off at least once. He's my cuddly-buggly-boo.

  14. I am so glad you can hold him. As much as you want. 🙂

  15. Poor little Andrew. I hope his sickness has subsided.

    And thanks for this reminder to hold onto what's important and keep your mind's eye on the bigger picture. I thinking having children 6 years apart, I've done a better job at really appreciating and enjoying the early years with my youngest. I wish I'd savored these times with my oldest, but I'm savoring his years now. It's never too late to start.

  16. I didn't learn this lesson until I had my second and had a better appreciation of how the time goes. Now I want a third just so I can get the time that I rushed away with my first back. My 2-year-old loves to be held and carried. I indulge as much as I can!

  17. My youngest is a head taller than me. I still make him sit on my lap from time to time. Who needs the snuggles more, me or him? I'm not sure. But I know that those snuggles planted early are growing tall.

  18. My girl is seven months now and I am enjoying watching her grow. I don't think I will be someone who misses the days when she was a baby- I am looking forward to so much and think every stage she reaches is important.