So, I snatched up the fussing Lad from his seat in the jogging stroller and muttered a sarcastic, martyred comment in the direction of the husband. Rough and hurried, I changed The Lad's diaper. I plopped into the rocker and pumped the chair hard as I nursed him, my mind running through all the things I still had to do before a mid-morning playdate. I felt pinned to the chair. When The Lad came up for air, I assumed he was done, glad to be free, only to have him fuss and wriggle because I had rushed him. Resentfully, I put him back to the boob. Singing softly to The Lad as he, finally finished, drifted into sleep, a rush of love pushed my to-do list to the back of my mind. One last cuddle and I went to settle him into his crib -- where he instantly woke and pushed up off the mattress squawking.
Angry again, I grabbed him and flopped back down into the rocker, practically flinging the chair back and forth. I clutched The Lad, straining and struggling, against my chest. "It is nap time," I said in the steely, mean momma voice, and hearing myself, realized how ridiculous I sounded and how pointless it was to command a five-month-old.
I took a deep breath, as we're always telling The Boy to do when he's angry, and forced myself to relax into the curve of the rocker's back. The Lad settled against my chest and I let the weight of him sink into me. I rocked slowly and hummed, my lips against his soft forehead. Muscles I didn't even realize were tense -- forearms and shoulders and the slope of my neck -- relaxed. The Lad fell deeper into sleep, flopped onto my shoulder. I smelled his milky breath and saw the dark crescents of his eyelashes. How can I imprint this forever in my mind? I rocked slowly and watched The Lad and thought of my grandmother telling me after The Boy was born that she felt like she rocked her own babies so much she had rocked around the world and back.
But, she told me, you don't mind.