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The last time I carry you

There will be a last time that I carry you,
and I won’t know it.


M turned three in the middle of February. While his memory and imagination have leapt to dazzling heights, he himself hasn’t. Or so it seems to us. The height marks on the wall point to a regular spurt and his weight has been more or less stable for the last year or two. His paediatrician reassures us that this is a good thing – it is better to have a child that has his weight under control rather than one who is speeding towards obesity and all the problems that come with it.

So he grows. He’s a master puzzler, putting 25-piece jigsaws in their place with ease. With equal nonchalance, he masters the books he loves – Dr Seuss, Gruffalo, the Thomas series. Every word, every nuance is committed to memory. He knows when the page has to be turned and if you skip a word or sentence (accidentally, of course), he will notice. 

I don’t carry him as often as I did a year ago. But some people possibly think we still carry him too much.  I do carry him – when he’s just woken up and needs to be brought out of the bedroom (because his bed is too high for him to climb down by himself and our wooden floors will give you instant dirty feet if you walk barefoot), or when we’re coming home and need to do a high jump over the gutter filled with overgrown weeds, or when he needs to rush to the toilet at the other end of a long corridor or when he needs comforting, or at increasingly fewer times, when he wants to be held as he’s falling asleep. I hold him close, cherishing his still-little hands around my neck or tucked into my chest. I can feel his pigeon chest thudding against my ribs, his head tucked under my chin snuggling in, breathing in my scent.

He’s given up saying “Carry You”, no longer confused about pronouns. He catches his mistake quickly and I watch him grow up in that spilt-second where he decides against his instinctual and habitual “Carry you” and instead opts for the cop-out “Carry”.

I often wonder why people, especially other women, goad you into letting your child grow up too soon. Don’t carry him too much, Don’t talk to him in baby language, Don’t nurse him too long, Don’t feed him , Don’t do this, Don’t do that.

If I don’t carry him and hold him close now, when will I do it? When he’s twenty?!

I was reminded of this today when I read Vicki Wilson’s poem ‘Son’ on Literary Mama. 

There will be a last time that I carry you,
and I won’t know it.
There will be no celebration,
no certificate,
as when you were born,

There will be a last time that I carry M. Soon he’ll be too heavy to lift or too tall, or it will be just inappropriate. Soon, he’ll not want to be lifted into his mother’s arms or hold my hand in public.

Until then, I ask you, what’s the harm in holding him close sometimes?

Read Vicki’s poem in its entirety here.


Image credit: Roger’s wife on Flickr


One comment on “The last time I carry you

  1. Loved your post. Esp, when I could so relate to it.

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