Maybe it's because I know these are probably the only two babies I will ever have, or maybe it's because I love them so much that it hurts to breathe. Regardless of the reason, I cannot stop watching my babies grow. I cannot get away from the acute awareness that every beautiful new development is a step away from me. Yet I understand that this is the goal: healthy babies that grow into healthy children that grow into healthy adults.
As their mother it is my job to help them in this process. To provide, to guide, to nurture, to love. I adore being their mother. I thrive on the knowledge that it is up to me to teach them about the world and to shape them into amazing human beings. I am giddy with babyhood - where they are mine and I am theirs. I am painfully aware that things will not always be this way.
And so I take a thousand pictures too many. I stare at them as they sleep and try to burn the image into my mind's eye. I relish every opportunity to nibble their chubby little cheeks and feet. I sit and know contentment as I listen to them coo. I am without words every time I nuzzle their fluffy tufts of hair with my cheek.
I know that some day, they will not be so tolerant of my endless adoration. The time will come when they won't want me to kiss them in public. When I will embarrass them. When the sheer sight of my face will no longer produce an unrestrained, glowing, and gummy smile.
Because in many ways, motherhood is a game of catch and release. My job as a mother is not simply to love and to nurture, but to work towards letting go. Bit by bit, it is my job to loosen the reins.
And so I'm practicing mindful mothering. It is my feeble attempt to hit pause. To stay in this place of sleep smiles, gurgles, and crying that can only be soothed by a good long nursing. Yet I know that no matter how well I do in my mindfulness, this time will still pass.
It is the bitterest bitter. It is the sweetest sweet.