I never thought I would be a clingy mom, but I am. I am an incredibly clingy mom. I dropped my son off in the church nursery for the first time last Sunday. When I dropped him off, I could tell that he was excited for a new adventure. He loves noise and toys and movement, and the church nursery provides all three. The second I dropped him off, though, something caught in my heart. I was unprepared for the emotion. I cried and cried throughout the church service because I missed him deeply. I was envious of the childcare workers who were spending time with him. Mostly, I was saddened that he didn’t need me.
For nine months, I carried this little man on my own, and for the last five months, I’ve been by his side nearly constantly. I’ve loved him fiercely, through laughs and smiles, through tears and tantrums. There is no way to describe my love for my son. It is unlike my love for any other on this earth. But he’s bigger now, and he plays on his own. He needs to interact with others, for his benefit as much as mine. It’s important that he make friends, particularly at church, who he will grow up with, learning about the Lord. It’s important that I have time with my friends, worshipping without distraction, growing in my relationship with the Father. It’s hard, though, entering this new season of boundaries, because for so long there have been none.
Lately I keep thinking about 1/36th. In one month, I will be 1/36th of the way through raising Denver. 36 is not a large number, and it makes me sad. Children are only little for so long. People say this, particularly to new parents. I heard it repeatedly during the early months, when I was sleep deprived and struggling to regain my sanity. Five months in, I now see how true it is. I miss the days when Denver took three hour naps in my arms. I miss swaddling him up tight and bouncing him around the house. I even miss his grumpy face, but I can’t go back. Those days are gone, and in their place are days with an independent napper, soon-to-be- crawler, and the most smiley face I’ve ever laid eyes on. I wouldn’t go back, if given the option, because I am thankful for these days. I will, however, always miss the days past.
In the meantime, while my son is still little, I will give myself a break when I’m feeling clingy. I will definitely make the effort to share him with others, to let him experience the freedom that will allow him to flourish in the years to come. But I’ll also check on him in the nursery if I’m feeling anxious, I’ll scoop him up for an extra hug whenever he’ll allow me to, and I’ll praise God for each day, each opportunity to spend time with him. As Dr. Seuss says, “Sometimes you will never understand the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”