These moments don’t come very often. They never have with my baby girl, but especially not since her chubby, clumsy limbs discovered the freedom of synchronized movement. She crawls and scampers all over our apartment, testing the limits of our scant 600 square feet. No corner or crevice of carpet or reachable wall remains untouched by her ever curious fingers.
So I treasure these moments. These times when I defy what the experts say, when I rock her to sleep. This may not be the correct sleeping technique, or it may, depending on the week. I don’t care. I enjoy her golden hour or minute or second as the case may be, her twilight as she stares at me, unblinking, through her glazed eyes. The only movement as she lies in the crook of my arm is her tiny ribcage taking in each breath. I rub her yogurt crusted cheek and she doesn’t even blink.
There are days when all I can do is keep my daughter from banging her head into corners and keep her fed and smile when my husband walks in the door after a long day. There are days when I can’t even seem to stay on top of those simple things. And yet moments of stillness like this one, staring into these eyes filtered with eight month old wonder, exhausted after hours of exploration at knee height, make me remember. Make me thankful for this vapor that is childhood, this mist that is passing through my fingers with every brief day. Already infant snuggles are ending. While this is not new, it is new to our story, hers and mine. And so I will hold her and be still, and for just a little while hold the vapor.