It’s 3 a.m. and we’re on the front porch. The humid air presses against my skin like a thick cloth as I sway under the light of the moon. McCoy is crying in my arms as I sing to him - any song I can think of as we cycle through them quickly. I never know the words but he doesn’t seem to mind.
I start with the Wheels on the Bus, then transition the Vitamin C’s Graduation song and Sufjan Stevens' one about driving to Chicago. I haven’t heard any of these songs in years. Why are they coming into my head now as I soothe my crying baby? And why don’t I remember any lullabies? I make a mental note to listen to a few on Spotify tomorrow, though I'll most certainly forget by morning.
Chris takes a turn at burping him now. We’ve decided he’s the better burper. Good job buddy! We both tell McCoy as he gets one out. His aching stomach has been bugging him for weeks, making sleep impossible some nights. Any air released feels like a victory for the whole family. He's five weeks old now and everyone keeps telling us his gas should get better by week six. I hope they're right, because watching his little back arch as he writhes in pain makes me want to sob.
I take him back and rock and rock and rock, trying different positions and - very inappropriately - transitioning to we will We Will Rock You by Queen. I stop when I get to the part about having blood on your face. It just doesn't feel like the right sentiment to soothe a crying baby.
Just when I think we will never get him to sleep, his eyes begun to flutter. They’re heavy now as his crying slows. His eyes bat up and down one last time and his entire body relaxes. His breathing steadies now as he nestles his soft cheek into my neck.
I suddenly miss him and miss this moment. As he begins to grunt Chris and I make eye contact: he’s asleep. We did it! We walk slowly back into the house, avoiding the creaky parts of our old wood floors. I place him into his bassinet and watch his body shift. It is so clearly by Divine design that even after an hour of screaming, his face is still the most pleasing thing I have ever seen.
We fall into bed. Exhausted. Grateful. Everyone says these days go quickly. At three weeks I thought everyone was lying. The days felt long and the nights were terrifying. But here we are at five weeks and my heart breaks at photos of him from those first 20 days. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t already think about the day we will drop him off at college or what his wife will be like. I pray - though it’s more like begging - for a lifetime with him. I couldn't imagine the earth without him in it. He is perfect to me.
I watch his chest rise and fall and listen to him snore. Chris is asleep next to me. I’m positioned between the two most important men in my life, flanked by their soft sleepy breathing.
I wonder then how it’s possible to miss a moment before it’s even gone. To miss the way you felt, the sounds and the smell, when you’re still inside of them.
I suppose this is parenthood. One moment you’re gritting your teeth, praying you can outlast your child. And the next you’re on your knees, praying for time to slow down, wishing you could bottle it up to drink later in life.