Come here/Go away

Henry is bundled up next to me on the couch. He’s looking at me and sucking his pacifier. I know he’s sleepy because he’s been dozing on and off since 7. It’s 8:30 now and we usually put him to bed at 9. And this is one of so many examples of my holding two opposites in my head.

Henry, now.

Am I ignoring him by typing this, or am I being a good mom for writing things down for him later in a moment while he’s mellow? Both.

Do I want him to be asleep so I can have a moment to myself, or do I want to treasure every waking moment of his life? Both.

I was thinking earlier about how I can’t wait to see what his face looks like when he is older, or to know what questions he’ll have about the world, or what philosophies he’ll invent or adopt, or what his little-boy laugh will sound like. But I also can’t bear to think of him not needing me any longer – to feed him, hold him upright, walk his little legs around, explain what things are, entertain him.

My dad used to goof around with us saying, “Come here! Go away! Come here! Go away!” It was hilarious. That’s what I’m feeling now, though.

When somebody else is holding him, I want nothing more than to be holding him myself. When I’m holding him, my back aches after a few minutes and I want nothing more than to hand him off to someone and have my hands (and time) free.

When I’m working, I feel bad that I’m not with Henry. When I’m with Henry, I feel bad that I’m not working.

When he’s not making noises or engaging with me, I want to get him talking and looking in my eyes and I’ll make noises to try and catch his attention. And right now he’s talking to the ceiling fan and I’m on the laptop.

Poor kid, with all these mixed messages. I’m wondering if this is always going to be there, though. The bittersweetness of momming. Always fighting with itself.

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