So This Is Growing Up

This is growing up waterIt wasn’t so long ago that I could hold her in one hand. Or I would have, if it weren’t for the wobbly head and that charge of fear coursing through the blood of every new mother that makes you cradle them, two arms, two hands, as close to the body as possible.

They say it gets better with the second, that you learn to actually do things and hold the baby at the same time. I wouldn’t know.

I have just the one. And she’s getting too big to carry.

Not that I don’t still try.

I could lean over the car seat – a backless booster now, she’s too big for anything else – and wake her up from her sleep. But I don’t. I pop the seatbelt, shift aside books and stuffed animals, and then I take the weight.

Sometimes I have to stop by the front door to readjust. Usually I park her on the kitchen counter on the way in. I say it’s to remove shoes and coat; it’s really to give my back a rest.

Then I pick her up, again. I can do this. I will do this. I’m her mother. Carrying her has been, for so long, second nature.

I remember a time when I wished for it to end. My back was a mess from pregnancy, and the physical therapist told me I needed to stop carrying things.

Stop carrying things? Who was she kidding? I had a baby at home! I didn’t have a choice about carrying then.

I don’t have a choice about carrying her now. I don’t have a baby anymore. She’s still slim, no bigger really than a bag of cat litter, at least when you put her on the scale. But I can throw a bag of cat litter over my shoulder. I can’t tote long legs and torso like a sack of potatoes.

Nor can I jut out my hip and plop her on for the ride; not anymore.

For nine months I carried her on the inside. For years, I carried her on the outside. But my body can’t do it much longer.

I guess this is growing up …

Can you still carry them?

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