She's never been much of a cuddler. She would much rather wriggle her little booty out of my arms and onto the floor, grab the remote, bang it on the TV, grab the other remote, bang it on the piano, knock the Christmas tree over, knock over her green pail of toys, throw everything across the room, crawl over and grab my shoe, bite the end of it [oh gag...], crawl over to the staircase, look back at me, completely ignore me when I say "Sol, NO." etc, etc. She would rather be doing anything than cuddling.
So when she wriggles out of my arms and it's anywhere in the neighborhood of 8:30pm, I put her to bed. Because most nights there are dishes to do, Christmas tree remnants to vacuum up, laundry to fold, bottles to wash, baby food to make. And most nights her refusal to cuddle makes it easier to get on with the tasks at hand.
But then there are nights like last night, where I looked at the calendar and saw that it was January 29, almost one year since Baby B. was due to arrive [my due date was January 30]. And I remembered those long days and short nights in the weeks that followed Sol's arrival. Long days, 95% of which were spent holding a sleeping baby. Long days spent with a baby who was soothed by snuggling up against my chest, feeling the heartbeat she was so used to feeling. Long days spent with a baby who would cry until her skin met mine and the world was right again.
Sol has refused to be in my arms for quite some time. This may be a sort of "chicken/egg/which-came-first" deal. Does she not cuddle because I've never given her the time? Or does she not cuddle because God decided my life would be easier if she didn't need that one-on-one time, so I took advantage of that and started putting her to bed so I could do the laundry? I can only remember one time in the last 10 months where I snuggled Sol until she fell asleep. One instance. In 10 months. And I wonder what kind of a mother that makes me.
I think back to that one instance, and my soul aches because my baby is gone. She's a few days shy of her first birthday and she has 8 teeth and a personality and she's ready to walk and she's not far from saying words and pretty soon those words will form sentences and then she's going to be studying Calculus and before I know it I'll be blogging about watching her walk across the stage at her high school graduation. I will never have my snuggly Sol-baby back. She will never get any smaller, she will only grow longer. She will grow out of pair after pair of shoes, and she'll eventually grow into her chubby cheeks.
But I think back to that one time we snuggled. It was Thanksgiving weekend [and yes, of course I took a picture to commemorate the occasion]. I remember my arm falling asleep but I didn't want to move because what if she woke up, and I wanted to grab my phone to snap a photo so I wouldn't forget the way she looked as she slept in my arms, and I tried to think of the last time this had happened, but I couldn't remember. And while my mind was occupied with all these things, my heart and soul were aching because they were so blasted full of love. My heart was swelling as I watched this sleepy little creation of mine, snoring so softly as she nestled her head against my chest and felt my heartbeat. And my heart was beating a strange rhythm, trying to do its job and pump the blood through my veins, but unable to concentrate on anything because it was swelling and aching and turning over and over as my eyes focused on the warm bundle of sunshine tucked safely in my arms. And as she slept, I could feel some supernatural force take both my heart and hers, and fuse both hearts together to create one soul-binding entity that would serve as proof that love really is all we need.