I vacuumed Clara’s room recently, setting her laundry hamper in the hall and propping furniture up so I could get to every surface. We don’t spend a whole lot of time in there, in the ‘nursery,’ and her carpet still looks pretty new. But today as I pushed and pulled the vacuum in uneven lines across the rug, I noticed a matted down spot. The spiraled fibers lay flat in an odd shaped pattern, not quite a circle, not quite a square. It was the carpet space directly in front of her crib, tamped down to a practically smooth surface, in a spot precisely the size of two grown up feet. It made me pause, that little mushed spot, because it is such tangible evidence of the two grown ups who have stood there so many times. There we are, tucking in the corners of the sheets before we brought home our teensy five pound daughter. There we are, staring at our sleeping newborn, touching her ribcage to make sure of its rise and fall. And there we are pacing on those painful nights of teething. Trading spots on the worst nights, handing over the baby and trying to sleep in between turns. Rocking and stepping in that forever slow dance of caretakers, a sway somehow built into our bones before we even knew we were parents. Tying the ribbons of the much-researched and debated crib liners, an argument between broken limbs or suffocation. Neither was likely, let’s get real, but first time parents are what they are, those darling people. There we are humming, there we are laughing, there we are, delighted to see you once again, cheeks pink from sleep and arms stretched eagerly towards us. That carpet is flattened because we could not leave your side, sweet Clara. It is a worn away spot in our home that never saw any attention before you came along. I never even knew such an important square of space could exist, such a physical representation of the subtle pressing down you have done in our lives, until the carpet is still carpet, but it can never look the same. I felt wistful as I vacuumed over it, so very aware that you will soon move to a bigger bed, out of your crib and far away from those days and nights when we raced to your room because we simply could not stand to miss a second of your life.
I love you, Smoochie girl. On your most rotten days and in your most tender moments, I love you with a heart that is mushed beyond recognition. It is a privilege to be your mom. It is a privilege to call you daughter.

One thought on “mushed.

  1. I love this. We kept our daughter in our room until she was 1, but I remember many nights falling asleep with my head on her bassinet because she wouldn't sleep without mommy's touch. I love my sweet girl. It's hard to believe she's a toddler now.

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