The other night, I consoled a friend whose under-the-weather toddler wouldn't go to sleep unless she rubbed his back by saying the following: "I try to think of the day in the not-so-distant future when he won't want me to rub his back anymore."
Then I got sad. Because he already doesn't want me to rub his back. I can't remember the last time I rocked him to sleep; I can't even remember the last time I saw him sleep. Now, having a child who puts himself to sleep night after night is a huge blessing; I can't deny that. But it made me realize just how fast my little one is growing up and just how little time I have with him. I was tempted to go into his room and just look at him for a while. But I didn't. Because I didn't want to wake him up. *sigh*
And then, the next morning, he gave me the most incredible gift. He slept in until 9 (no, that's not the gift, although it was pretty nice), then, when I went to get him up, he acted as if waking up and facing the day was just too much to be endured. He actually reminded me of myself as a teenager, covering his eyes and pulling his blanket over his face. I lifted him out of his crib, and all he wanted to do was snuggle. So, we rocked and snuggled. I sang him every lullaby in the book while I held him and stroked his hair. He buried his face in my chest, and I cried a little. Even though I was hosting playgroup in five minutes, even though I hadn't yet had breakfast or even changed his diaper, getting a chance to snuggle and rock my little boy was all that mattered.
Thank you, little man, for proving that you haven't outgrown snuggles and rocking and lullabies just yet. Please don't. Ever.