Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Last Cradle

A friend gave us this cradle when her last babe was done with it, so it wasn't even one that I used for all of my babies.

First, for Ethan, there was a bassinet; a garage sale find.

Next was a crib; a hand-me-down from folks at church.

By the time Adam was a few months old I'd gotten rid of it because we had taken to co-sleeping, and the crib was just a place to pile blankets.

But when Ellie was on her way I found a little swinging Jenny Lind cradle at a second hand store and brought it home.  After losing the baby before her, it was my way of affirming that it would be okay to plan for the happy arrival of this little one.

It lasted through Tessa, and then was decommissioned.  A little too rickety.

But then Jonah made his way into the world, and this cradle, this last cradle, made it's way into our house, well loved and used by my friend Nicole for her littles turned bigs.

And at our home, the cradle was again well used.  Jumbo Jonah insisted on catching his zzz's in it till he had to bend his knees to fit. And then tiny Natalie, who I tended to place into it more often for the sake of all of our sleep (because of her ability to place her left foot in my spleen while her right occupied Guy's armpit), used it until not so long ago.

A few months ago the big girls got a bunk bed with a twin on top and a full sized mattress on the bottom, and Ellie began stealing Natalie away at bedtime to share her lower bunk, apparently undaunted by Natalie's nighttime calisthenics.


I don't know when the last night slipped by that my last baby had her last dream in the little wooden cradle.  It just happened one day.  One morning I simply realized that the cradle hadn't been used in... days? weeks? I wasn't sure.

I sat on the floor by my bed, folding the jumble of baby blankets it held into a tidy, still pile. The kind of pile that is waiting for a cupboard or a box, and not a chubby little person.  I cried a little, and pressed the cloth into my face trying to catch a hint, a whiff, of my babies there.

But I couldn't.

I left the cradle, with it's pile of carefully folded blankets, there for a few weeks, a month, or maybe two, telling myself there was no place in the garage for it.  And then one day Guy suggested we move it out.

"Don't rush me." I said.

I'm not ready to say goodbye to this last little cradle. I thought.

Then one day a few weeks ago I finally moved it out of our room.  Natalie is 3 after all.  But I firmly informed Guy not to get any fancy notions of sending it off to Goodwill, that my grandbabies WOULD be sleeping in it, and that until that time, it would be waiting.

Waiting to hold babies again.

There is something so impossibly hard about saying goodbye to baby days.  I have been rocking babies for nearly 20 years.  It's who I am now.  It's my identity.  I'm a mommy.  Not just a mom, but a mommy.  A nose wiping, back stroking, booty patting, weep comforting, sleep coaxing mommy.

And cradle or not, I always will be.

Natalie on her new toddler bed.


jstme said...

Oh, Laine, I love you!
Jeannie T

Laine said...

Thanks, Jeannie. What a sweet thing to share with me.

Laine said...

Thanks, Jeannie. What a sweet thing to share with me.