By Caroline Mitchell Carrico

Mmm I want to linger…

Some days are hard. And sometimes a string of days are hard. And sometimes the last thing I want to do is spend ten more minutes with a crying baby. If I lose mom points with you for that, you should probably reevaluate why you have decided to waste your time assigning mom points.

Mmm a little longer…

But sometimes, what I need at the end of a string of tough ones is to have that tired baby, the one with the growing bruise on his cheek from trying to cruise a little farther than he has before and the sore mouth from pushing out teeth, need me.

Mmm a little longer here with you.

The nights I want to linger over bedtime surprise me. It always seems to happen when the baby has had a long day and his mom just wants him to go to bed so she can be an adult and not play peekaboo.

Mmm it’s such a perfect night…

It’s the nights when he decides that he doesn’t want to nurse or be read to. When he wants to flop all over my lap and cry until I give him his pacifier. When all he wants is for me to sing him his song. Loudly. No whispering; he wants it belted.

Mmm it doesn’t seem quite right…

Those nights are when I sooth him. When this unnameable and powerful and giant love that we have is all that he needs to feel safe and calm.

Mmm that we should have to bid adieu

To steal a phrase from Nancy Tillman, 

Our love is so wide and so deep that it is impossible to understand the feeling I have when I hold him in my arms and he finally stops climbing and crying and lets me make him happy.

And as the years go by,

And those nights are when I get a tiny glimmer of understanding that this is a feeling that I should try to pocket. That I should hold it in some part of my memory so that it will be there when he is not my little baby anymore.

Mmm we’ll both look back and sigh

And when I have that glimmer, I find that I can’t put him down at the end of his song. I can’t get up and put him in his crib, turn out the light and close his door. Those nights deserve to be lingered over. So on nights like tonight I sing him an extra song. Not for him. He doesn’t need it. For me. Because I do.

Mmm this is goodnight and not goodbye.

Caroline Mitchell Carrico graduated from CBU in 2010 with a degree in history. In addition to being a mom, she works in the Exhibits Department at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum. This post was originally published on her website

Posted by Josh Colfer at 9:12 AM

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