3 AM. I sit on the corner of my bed, nursing my newborn baby boy. The moonlight reflecting off the snow casts just enough light to make out the outline of his cheek and the line of his little arm clasped tightly against his chest. I can tell his eyes are open, but all else is lost in the shadows of the night.
I want to remember these moments.
His breathy excitement as I get ready to nurse him.
The way his mouth opens in a perfect little oval and his whole head follows his lips as they search first to the right and then to the left, back and forth until he’s finally nursing.
The little fist he finds and latches onto while he kicks his little legs because he just can’t wait any longer.
The slow rhythmic suckling, with one arm held tight against his chest.
I look at him and memorize him, trying to hold this moment in my heart.
Three years ago, I sat in this very spot, nursing Micah and staring out the same window at the mini Coupe left on the side of the hill where Tiggy had last played with it.
I sat there and tried to remember nursing Tiggy. But in a busy family, nursing a baby happens by the wayside. It happens while half asleep in the wee hours of the morning. It happens while talking on the phone. It happens while reading to other children. It happens while going over school work. It happens while making grocery lists and menu plans.
But to remember, you have to let go of the busyness, clear your mind of the clutter of managing a household, and simply be there. In that moment. Letting everything else fall into the background.
Tiggy was number five. That didn’t happen very often.
And I also worried what my grief would do to Micah. How would he turn out, growing up in the shadow of his brother’s death?
Looking back, I am incredibly thankful for the gift we had in Micah. His name proved almost prophetic: Micah Jair, “Who is like God? He shines.” And he did shine in the darkness of those days. My thoughts may not have been on him as he nursed night after night. Sometimes, I held him too tightly so that he squirmed while I shook with wave after wave of tears. Sometimes, I held him loosely while my thoughts were distant and disattached. But when he cried, I had to step out of that cloud of grief enough to hold him and that was enough to go forward a little bit more each day.
But I had precious few days to hold him and rejoice in him because he was only six weeks old when his brother died.
And now I sit holding little Asa as I think on all these things. He lets go and begins to cry. I try to burp him. Change his diaper. Hold him against my shoulder. Try to rock him. Try to nurse him once again. Nothing is working. So I stretch him out before me so I can see his face by the light of the moon and sing bits and pieces of songs I’ve mostly forgotten, strung together with verses I make up as I go along.
Each moment is a treasure. And this, too, I want to remember.