You’re sleeping. Your little pink rosebud mouth is pursed, your beautiful cornflower blue eyes closed and dreaming, soft baby curls on your pillow. Your busy little toddler body is finally at rest, sprawled out in your cot with your softie still clutched between your fingers. You are my best girl.
It doesn’t seem like so long ago that you were a tiny baby, so new and so fragile and sleeping on my chest. You had the same rosebud mouth, and the same baby blue eyes. And I’d kiss your little bald head and dream about your future, and all the fun we’d have together.
I left my job and the life I had known to have you, and to stay home with you while you grew. I told everyone I did it for you, so that you’d have the benefit of me being there everyday. But really, selfishly, I did it for me.
You see, you would be the only one. I never wanted anymore babies, I only wanted you. And I wanted to savour every moment of your littleness, to make memories with you and be there for all your triumphs and all your failures. I wanted to be the one to hear your first words, see your first steps, give you your first and last kiss everyday.
And I do, and it’s wonderful and I love it.
But oh, it is so bittersweet. All your firsts are my lasts. My last pregnancy. My last newborn. My last teething, my last weaning, my last middle of the night feeds. My last babywearing.
And although I don’t want any more babies, it does make me terribly sad that I’ll never get the chance to do any of this again. And that you won’t have the experience of having siblings. I sometimes wonder if we’re doing the right thing by you, not giving you a brother or a sister. But then I know myself and my own limitations too well, and I know I would struggle. Besides, my heart is still too full of you for anyone else.
In the meantime, you’re growing up faster than I could have possibly imagined. Just yesterday you were asleep on my chest, an extension of me. Now you’re two whole years old, you have your own opinions and your own ideas and you’re becoming fiercely independent.
There is one constant though, one thing I cling to. Once you slept on my chest, as a newborn in a stretchy, and now you sleep on my back in a wrap. We’re two separate people, you and I, but we still find solace in being bound together by beautiful fabrics.
When you’re having a bad day, when I’m struggling, I know I can put you up in a carrier and we’ll both calm down. I can whisper sweet secrets to you up there, and you can watch the world from over my shoulder in safety and comfort. When you’re tired, and your little legs just won’t go any further, I know I can wrap you and we can both find ease. You can sleep knowing I’m close and I can breathe in your beautiful scent and delight in knowing you still need me.
It’s such a wonderful thing, being able to carry you still. I savour every second of it, because I know that the time left for us to do it is flying. Soon, too soon, you won’t want to be carried anymore and I will miss you and the closeness more than I can say, or even want to imagine.
But I promise, my best girl, I promise, I will carry you for as long as is possible. As long as you need me to, I will always have a wrap on hand and I will always wrap you, because one day I won’t be able to, one day you’ll want to run in front with your friends or ride your bike or your scooter and you won’t need me anymore. You’ll be big enough and confident enough to take the world on without my help.
And then I’ll sell my wraps. I’ll keep one or two here for friends that have babies and are interested in learning how to carry, but I’ll sell the rest so that other families can experience the magic that we did. I’ll be sad to do it but wraps are no good to anybody sat on a shelf, they need to be worn and loved, used as impromptu picnic blankets and hammocks and snuggled on chilly days.
But I’ll never be able to truly let go, I think. How can I, when it has been such a big part of our lives? When we have spent hours and days learning to love each other inside metres of woven fabric?
So when you’re running ahead with your friends, if you look back and happen to recognise the pattern on the scarf I’m wearing, well, that’s just my little way of remembering when you were tiny, and you needed me.
Love you my best girl,