I carefully stand up, shifting his head from the crook of my arm to rest on my shoulder. I pause for a moment, letting myself really feel the weight of his body, marveling at how much bigger he is now than this time last year. I turn my nose to his hair and inhale, breathing in the lingering Johnson and Johnson shampoo.
I remember when he had no hair and smelled of only breast milk.
I find myself swaying a little - another throwback to his newborn days, when he preferred for us to always be moving.
I think of this journey we've been on for the past 22 months - how we've changed as a couple, how we've transformed into parents, how being a mother to a child on this Earth has shaped me. The changes have been different, but not always pleasant.
I'm proud that I've put this little boy first. I enjoy that sometimes I'm the only one that can understand him, or the only one that can fix it. I'm a little more confident now, and a little less nervous.
But it's time.
Time to remember how to be present in my marriage, and to be self-assured in taking time for me. Time to change a few ways of how we do things so we can feel like a couple, not just exhausted empty shells at the end of the day with nothing left over for each other, much less our selves.
Time to stop testing the waters of my faith and dive completely in. Time to follow through on movements of resistance and protest, and to keep our elected officials accountable for their actions.
I snuggle my baby (because he will always be my baby), a little closer as I try to mentally prepare for the transitions coming, even though I have yet to know what they'll look like.
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday - the first day of Lent - a time of reflection, of reconciliation, of preparation. I normally give something up, a sacrifice, but this year I'm trying to do - do good for others, for myself, for the two guys in my life that I love more than anything but can easily take for granted.
Last night at church I read a poem, (Changer, by Adrienne Trevathan), and the last lines of it stayed with me.
Cover me with ashes.
I kiss my son's head and whisper the words I say every night. "Good night Parker, Mommy and Daddy love you. Sleep well my baby."
I ease him into his crib, sh-sh-sh-ing as I cover him with a blanket, and collect the sippy cups from his nightstand.
Changes are coming. I'm not completely sure where to start, but I know it's time to begin.