Around eight o'clock on any given night, I have Jacob in my lap, his fine blonde-haired head tucked comfortably under my chin and my arms wrapped around him. His fingers touch mine as I sing him the familiar lullabies I've sung to both boys since infancy.
Jesus loves me this I know....You are my sunshine, my only sunshine....I love my Jacob, oh yes, I do....
I rock a little as I sit with him. Our nightly bedtime routine with both of the boys is one of my favorite places to mother. Bedtime invites me to be soft. It requires me to be gentle, tender and still. And it's as if they look forward to the quieting down we all share together and lullabies are the last thing before bed. They come after baths and teeth brushing, prayers and reading a story. Jacob knows that after I sing to him, I lay him down and it's time to sleep.
A few nights ago though, I found myself holding back tears as I sang. After I had tucked him in to bed and he kissed me and hugged my neck, I went in my room and cried.
There was something about realizing Jacob's smallness that night. He is my littlest and our last baby, and he won't be little for much longer. He is two and a half, potty-trained (hallelujah), speaks in sentences and very much has his own opinions about everything. Soon, he won't fit perfectly under my chin on my lap and bedtime will look a little different like it does now with Tommy.
Perhaps it's knowing he is our last. Since we have closed the door on having any more children, there is this ache I hold inside. One of want and longing. Of wishing life had maybe gone a little bit differently and my nest would have three babies in it instead of two. If I had been able to stay at home, or if my body were different than maybe I would have the three like I had always planned on having. I'm also aware of where I am at peace too. I have peace with our decision we made to not have any more biological children because of my health and medication issues surrounding my RA. We have been dreaming about adoption too but we aren't certain on the ifs and whens of any of that. But I am looking forward to the life we get to share with our boys, the things we can do together as a family of four.
And so I find myself in this familiar place of holding two opposing emotions. The ache of wanting a third and the peace I have about not having another too. I'm okay, and I'm not. I'm at peace and I have a deep longing. I'm happy and I'm sad.
Sometimes, often really, I feel the "and both" of my choices, of life, of my story. And right now, the lullabies and nighttime snuggles, is a place where where I am holding the and both of my life. Enjoying precious moments with my children, longing for the memories and moments I don't have, and being grateful for their lives.
And that I get to end all of our days with lullabies.