Dear Baby Badass,
Time is a very fluid thing for you right now. I imagine to you it must be just periods of wakefulness between feedings and diaper changes, between nap-time and play-time. As you get older, time will take on more of a shape, an aerodynamically perfect shape that glides by regardless of your readiness to move on with it. When you have a child of your own someday, you'll find yourself wishing for the ability to slow things down so you can catch the things you think you're missing.
Every night I come home from work, I drop my bag by the door and kick off my shoes. You turn your head to see just what is making all that noise, and you see me. You beam that smile of yours that breaks my heart, a smile with two teeth on the bottom, and you coo and giggle. As I pick you up and pull you close, your smile still going, I breathe in your smell and my heart mends.
I go without seeing you for less than twelve hours every workday, and yet it seems like each day you are getting bigger. You're eating more solid foods than formula now, and love all your fruits and veggies. You love to bounce and throw your toys around, and have an affection towards your morning dose of SpongeBob SquarePants or Phineas and Ferb. You are babbling up a storm now, cooing and screaming happily and almost never crying. You are this close to crawling, and love to prop yourself up on your hands and knees and rock back and forth. You are developing your personality, your likes and dislikes, and I'm afraid that I'm missing so much of you when I'm away.
After I change out of my work clothes, I sit down with you in my easy chair and your mother runs down how your day went at day care. You nestle into the crook of my arm and work on your bedtime bottle, and a stillness comes over me. When I burp you and coax you into gentle sleep on my shoulder, you reach up and touch my face and look into my eyes as you drift off. I could stay like that forever, with you in my arms, and it hurts so much to know that I simply cannot.
As much as I want to grab a firm handhold on time and slow things down so I have more time to cherish the moments like these that I've written about here, I know that even if I could, I shouldn't. I need to let you continue to change and grow, and it would be selfish of me to deprive you of that. I just need to soak up every moment I have with you, and etch it permanently in my mind so I can have it with me always.
After you've been asleep for a little while, your mother comes and picks you up to take you to bed, ending our nightly routine together. The area of my shoulder and chest made warm by your soft skin quickly cools, and most nights I have to force myself to not get up from my chair and take you back from your mother for just a few more minutes. I take small solace knowing that all I've got to do is wait until tomorrow and I'll get to do it all over again.
As contradictory to it all as it may seem, tomorrow never comes soon enough.
I love you so incredibly much.
Happy Monday, folks.