Despite having been gone and having had the chance to rest for the weekend, I was exhausted by the time 10pm came around. A good night's sleep and I would be ready for Monday. Bring it on. My Monday this week started at 5am when Ryder woke up crying. As a mom you develop the ability to translate your baby's cries and though I was pretty darn good at it back in the day with Kai (these days it's a different story), I had to re-learn the whole science of cry-interpretation with Ryder. You'd think I didn't get enough practice in with Kai, but trust me I did. I think this was purely a case of selective memory.
So, 5am comes around and Ryder is up. This time not with the kind of fussing that will stop, after which he'll fall asleep again. It was a different cry. One that told me, to go in and check on him. And there I went. Stumbling down the hall, into his room. A little voice in the back of my head said: "check if he's hungry" and so I did by gently sticking me finger into his mouth.
And bingo!! There it was...!!
The cause of all evil.
The beginning of the end of baby-hood.
His first tooth.
Right at that moment my heart stopped. I had dreaded this moment for so long and here it was. It had come out of nowhere, with no lead in time (other than 3 months of drool, drool and more drool, but hey, drool doesn't mean much to me anymore). At that very moment, at 5am on Monday morning, my baby made me realize (even more) that he was growing up.
Given the fact that we are most likely not going to have any more children, that meant that the gummy smiles were gone. Forever. I loved them so much and it broke my heart to think that this was it. That the last time I saw him smile, had been the last time I had seen his gummy smile. I love gummy smiles. And though the smiles with teeth are absolutely just as precious, there is something so very special about the gummy ones. At least to me.
Some topical gel and Ibuprofen later, Ryder rolled over, cuddled with his blankie and went straight back to sleep. Calm, soothed, and happy.
Mommy, on the other hand, let loose a few tears before she fell asleep. It had been a bittersweet return home. I am absolutely blessed and happy that my baby boy is healthy and is turning into a 'big' boy, however I am sad that yet another chapter of 'infancy' has been closed and is now behind me. I loved his gummy smile and I just wasn't ready to let it go quite yet. This just proves, once again, that our children grow up on their own terms. As parents we do so much to encourage and support their growth, however, at the same time there is nothing we can do as they just do it on their own.
This feeling is similar to the one I had when I realized that Ryder wasn't falling asleep in my arms anymore. I know that these moments will be replaced by new ones that in turn will be just as precious, yet I cannot help but be a bit sad.
Thank you Ryder, for reminding me to really live in the moment and to experience every single moment fully. They are precious and before we know it, they're gone, to never return again. Afterall:
The present is a gift, that's why it's called 'The Present'.