At night, I creep into our bedroom after my husband and the babies are asleep. The Rock N Plays stand at the end of our bed, two large contraptions holding two small babies. Somehow that view slices into my heart–I spend all day near them and it’s only after a few hours away that I get to see again how small and precious and perfect they are. It bends and breaks my heart every time. They are so tiny and wonderful and miraculous. Every night I get a moment of pre-nostalgia, knowing they’ll get bigger and louder and hopefully, if we’re lucky and pay attention, more precious too. Knowing these days are limited and sweet. Knowing I can’t hold on to them–the days or the tiny babies. Everything will change. They will change and I will be amazed and I will be bereft because it will have gone too fast and they will have grown up and grown away from me.
The babies’ room is at the end of the hallway, around the corner. It’s not part of our life yet. We rarely go in there; it’s only partly decorated and is half storage. When I walk in the door, just like before they were born and I didn’t know what it was really like to have my own babies, it feels like I’m stealing in, sneaking in. Like I’m still waiting for those babies, that life as a mama. Like it’s on hold and still far away, unknown. I see the crib that’s never been slept in and I don’t want to visualize babies big enough to sleep in it. Even though they might be too big to share it already. Even though in my mind’s eye, I can see my sweet five pound newborns peacefully sleeping there side by side, bundled up and cozy. An image that was never real in that room and now never will be.
In that room, the babies are still more of a promise, a potential, than reality. In that room, I’m a storybook mother, beaming down at her sweet children while they slumber and smile in their dreams. My perfect dream self is rocking quietly in the corner of the perfectly decorated nursery and contemplating the perfect day everyone had together. I am saintly, patient, fully dressed. In my mind, that’s who that room can make me.
In that room lives the promise of first “Mama!”s, hugs from little arms, late night tears, toddlers with trucks. In that room, the future waits and the present is fleeting. In that room is the promise of life and of love.