Present for the Future

I had a terribly bittersweet afternoon yesterday, and wanted to post about it.

Yesterday, the girls and I went grocery-mongering. We left late morning, because we got up late and ate late. We do everything rather late- at least, by most other people’s standards. (Is 10AM breakfast late? At least it’s hot and homemade, right?) By the time we finished at our first stop, it was nearly noon. I wanted to go to the local farmer’s market, and figured we could make it out there and be back in time for lunch (late) with Dad before the kids took an afternoon nap.

But it’s a little bit of a car ride out to the market, and the warm sun and rushing air lulled both kids to dreamland before we were halfway there. I debated turning around, but we had come far enough that I decided to just keep going. Fortunately, my sling was still in the van. I lumped DD1 into the basket of the shopping cart, her head resting a pillow of spare clothes from the diaper bag. DD2 went into the sling, just as I had done when she was a tiny babe, her little body facing mine and her cheek resting on my breast. I snugged the fabric around her bum and headed inside.

I have to admit that it was a very pleasant shopping trip. I dallied in the market for nearly an hour, lingering over the produce and savoring my uninterrupted turn at the deli counter. My head was clear enough to remember everything I was supposed to get, even though the shopping list was still on the kitchen table. No little hands grabbed at things, no little feet pounded through the store aisles, no squirmy bodies came dangerously close to precarious glass-bottle displays on endcaps. And yet the kids were still with me, sharing in the day. DD2 snuggled close against my chest with the sling holding her securely. It was marvelous.

Taking the groceries and kids back to our van, I smiled at my daughters. I hugged DD2 before undoing the rings of the sling. It was just then I realized, rather wistfully, that I couldn’t remember the last occasion where DD2 rode in the sling, never mind DD1. This very well might be the last time I ever carried a Maya-wrapped DD2. And if we never have any more children (a distinct possibility), this just might be the last time I ever carry a babe in a sling at all.

I closed my eyes in the warm afternoon sun, trying to concentrate on this moment. I wanted to remember every detail of it. I tried to imprint the feeling of my snuggly little girl, warm against my chest, in my memory, her body both heavy and yet oh-so-light. I kissed the top of her tawny head, feeling her hair damp from hard sleep and the fabric that held her. She turned and pressed the opposite ear into my shirt, almost waking.

I kissed her again, and willed myself to remember this moment forever, just in case it was the last time I ever felt the singular bliss of a mother cradling her sleeping babe on a warm spring afternoon.

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