It’s been cold.
We try to keep the heat turned low, but there’ve been several bitter nights lately where I carefully nudge it up… 62… 65… 67. And still, with wind whistling through cracks around the edges of windows, we shiver, huddled under layers.
The cold weather makes me worry for our boy, in his own big and drafty room so far down the hall. Since becoming a parent, I’ve found there are two constant worries that endlessly whisper in the back of my mind: “Is he cold?” and “Is he hungry?” Those extra cold nights, that one quiet, nagging fear clears its throat and speaks up a bit louder. Then, one of us will sneak into his room, ignore eyes squeezed shut with feigned sleep, and whisper that he can come into our bed for the night.
We all will clamber into bed and snuggle into place, scooting pillows and sharing blankets. Sometimes Little Josh will be so excited about sleeping in The Big Bed that he’ll link his little arms around our necks and fall asleep just like that, with a silly grin still on his face. Most nights, he chooses one of us to nestle against, curling his little body up tight, laying a messy head on my chest or clutching Josh’s shirt in a little fist.
As Josh clicks off the lamp, and we all lay shivering together, giggling and whispering “goodnights!” and “I love yous!” back and forth in the dark, something sharp catches in my throat. I know these times of footie pajama snuggles will have an end. Sometime not too far from now, he’ll be too big to squeeze into the bed between us. Though I’m being gradually, gently shoved off the edge of the mattress. Though there’s a little barrier separating me from my husband for the entirety of the night. Though the blankets are pulled tight until there’s hardly a solid corner covering me, there’s a sharp elbow in my rib and I’ll wake feeling as though I’ve had no chance to rest. Despite all of that, I worry that these precious nights will slip away too fast.
That’s been the biggest change I’ve noticed in the last three years. There’s so much happiness. So much bursting, noisy, wild happiness. A joy so giddy that even in the quietest moments, it’s still so riotous, spinning wildly out of control when I just want to hold onto some of it- catch it, grasp it tightly in my little hand, and save it just a little longer. But every burst of laughter is tinged at the edge with a sad awareness that it’s all fleeting, quickly, quickly, passing by. Of all of the other happy things in my life- times with friends, my husband, doing work that I enjoy- none of those things make me pause and think about when they will no longer be. But the happiest times with my son are always on the brink of no longer happening. I’m always aware that “one day he’ll be too big to…”
Maybe because these three years have already sped by so fast.