Jessica Mary is ten years old. And quite independent, most of the time. Specifically, she never sleeps in our bed anymore. Which is normal and natural and perfectly fine… except that last night, Marc and Sam were sleeping over at Battleship Cove with the Boy Scouts, and Jessie crawled into bed with me to watch television and ended up falling asleep next to me.
Julianna has a toddler bed, in our room (partly because she still nurses at night occasionally, and partly because I don’t want to make Jessie find room in her incredibly overcrowded space for her little sister). So she was sound asleep in her own bed, and Jessie and I were curled up together. It was achingly familiar, but she hasn’t snuggled like that with me in a long time.
She was my first baby, and for a long time, longer than Julianna has been alive, she was my only. She snuggled like that every single night. And even after Sam was born, she was still my snuggly girl. Sam doesn’t snuggle at night, and neither does Julie. Even though both the younger two nursed for years longer than Jessie, both of them sleep better alone. As soon as they could roll, they’d roll away from me in their sleep. Only Jessica curled into me every night, like she’s trying to burrow under me. Only Jessica fits her little self into the perfect spot next to me and cuddles up in the most beautiful expression of mother/child snuggles. She’s not an overly affectionate kid with anyone else – but with me, she was always happy for a hug or a snuggle. I was so happy last night with my little/big girl.
Happy and somewhat wistful, because I know how rare it is now. She’s mostly outgrown it now. She’ll still creep into bed with us occasionally, but not really. She’s done with it. And that’s as it should be… but I cherish those times when she does snuggle up against me.
Each one of my kids has taught me something different, and I love each one more than I can say. But Jessie taught me about being a mother for the very first time, and with Jessica, I learned how incredibly perfect it is, just to have your little baby close to you. That doesn’t go away when they get bigger. It still feels perfect in a way that you only understand after you have a child. Last night was perfect in a way that I’m going to try very hard to remember the next time she’s glaring at me and muttering under her breath about me. Because there’s a part of her that’s always going to remember that feeling of safety and warmth and love, and a much bigger part of me that’s always going to want her next to me.