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Three Minutes In The Dark

Babies can't put the bread in the toaster, because they will get burned.  Only big boys can do that.

Babies can't sit on the big potty, because they will fall in. I can do that because I'm a big boy.

Suddenly I notice that all of Ezra's shirts are too small.  Mind you, not because I observe it myself, but because he squeals when it is time to get dressed, demanding a floppy shirt.  One that wiggles.  I don't want that shirt.  That shirt is too tight.

I don't mind Ezra's hell-bent demonstrations of growing up.  I actually relish that he's not a baby any more.  But at night, after our torturously slow tooth brushing routine and our books and our what-was-your-favorite-thing-about-today, lately he asks, Will you lay with me in three minutes? 

And I do, because it's the quietest three minutes of the day.

Will gave me a necklace when Ezra was born, a thin gold chain with three small beads, one for each of us.  It has dangled there nearly every day since.  As soon as the infant Ezra gained any control of his extremities he found that necklace.  When he was nursing we sat in the blue rocking chair in his room a million times a day, and every time he latched his tiny little hand fluttered to my throat and clutched the necklace like a prayer mala.

(The other day he pointed to my breast and asked, Is that your belly? 

No, I said.  That's my breast.

What is it for?

When you were a baby it made milk and that's how you ate.

Oh.  He thought, pointed at one and then the other.  This one made milk and that one made water?)

So here we are in the big boy phase.  The other night lying next to him in three minutes, watching him sink into slowness, I felt the absentminded starfish of his big boy hand find its way to my necklace.  It was a happy jolt, jogging me into remembering those long, slow infant days. 

The gift, as we rush into Big, is this: our former selves and all our time together, all of it, is encoded into our muscle memories in a place beyond knowing.

Reader Comments (11)

Damn you, Corinna, for making me cry as I (again) sit in the car service waiting area, looking like a dang fool. I also have a necklace with three gold rings, one for each Hatchling. My youngest still puts himself to sleep holding on to it. The other two finger it occasionally, and I've found that I have a hard time unclasping it to put on any other necklace. These moments go by so fast, it hurts. And they have a way, even when you're finding yourself glad for new milestones and autonomy, of smacking you in the face with their swiftness.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLarisa Spillman

This made me cry in the very best of ways. You write so beautifully, Corinna.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranniesamuels

That brought tears, honey, along with all the bittersweet pangs & nostalgia of motherhood. Beautiful.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

so contented to be part of the space with you beyond knowing.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Absolutely beautiful. Lovely writing and stunning images! Thank you for sharing and brightening my day. Xo

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

So beautifully said. Ezra is a lucky boy and you a lucky mama. xoxo

Thats the way to throw your fastball, Corrina. Wonderful words those.

Happy early Mothers Day. He's a lucky kid.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDSeawell

[Sigh] Wonderful post in every way Corinna. When my boy was small he used to slip his arm up my sleeve while he was eating; it was automatic. What I wouldn't give for those little moments again.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher

beautiful post Corinna. yes you have done it again, get to the bottom of my heart and pull those emotional strings. you write so beautifully. it's such a gift to put thoughts on paper like you do. thank you! and see you soon, squeeeee!!!

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertamar

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment.

May 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhove garage

So awesome that you notice these tender moments, as they grow less frequent and more precious as they age. Beautiful post Corinna.

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

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