Kissing Baby Toes in the Sunlight

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I’d found myself there on that couch a couple hours prior. The two oldest were still at school, the barely-a-baby-anymore was napping. There was an hour, at best, before the noise would drown out the quiet again. So I plopped myself on the couch with my laptop. The screen was blank. Time stood still. I looked up, around, pondered many things. Deep questions about the meaning of life surfaced in those moments of quiet. What is the purpose of my life? How can I strip away the excess, the clutter, the unnecessary? How do I go about freeing space and time to make room for the filling of my soul? Why have I been given all this while others live in pieced-together mud, metal and sticks? My eyes were open as wide as they’d been, and I knew, it’s possible to live fully alive, receive without question every beautiful thing under the big, bright sun.

Two hours later, sunlight streamed in on that same spot. The 11-year-old tween played Minecraft to my left, the 8-year-old had gone to play with a friend, which left me and barely-a-baby-anymore with nothing to do but listen to her favorite song, “Mahna Mahna,” on my iPhone.

I sat her in my lap sideways so I could see her still-baby face. Sun came through the window behind her. Her hair glistened, glowed. Snot ran down her button nose and I could see every fuzzy baby hair on her face.

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I looked down. Her baby feet were right at my hands. I grabbed them one at a time, one for each hand. She didn’t seem to notice, she didn’t seem to mind. I kissed those still-baby toes, breathed in the unforgettable fragrance of baby feet that’d been in socks all day. A tiny chip of pink nail polish on her big toe reminded me she’s not going to be this little for long. A mama of three knows truth the third time around.

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I watched her push the buttons, she’d found a new song. Away went the phone, hidden forever behind my back.

I lifted her in one little swoop and laid her on my legs. Her whole baby body still fit comfortably between my knees and my waist. She bent at the hips, lifted her legs like an infant-baby, and there at my hands were her feet. I grabbed those feet, used them to cover my face, and peered through to the sliver of her baby face that remained. My eye met hers. I broke her feet open wide and we played peek-a-boo many times ’round. A mama of three knows peek-a-boo feet is for babies, babies alone.

We giggled and wiggled in joy and delight. I had triple my fair share of kissing baby toes in the sunlight.

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I knew this game would only last so long. So I turned her again, cradled her tight like a baby, tickled up her belly, all the way to her neck. She giggled. I rocked her in tight. It was a beautiful dance, this tickling, giggling, rocking, tightening all close.

Before I released her baby body, I cradled her tight, rocked her like I did 12-15-18-24 months ago. And I saw the baby, the toddler, the big girl. I saw myself, my husband, I saw the woman she’ll be. I took it all in, this holding tight, cradling my barely-a-baby-anymore girl. Because a mama of three knows, it won’t be long before that baby body’ll turn big – the lifting, carrying, cradling will be all but a memory captured in the recesses of her heart.

Six hours later, I find myself on that same spot on the couch, alone. The questions, the ponderings about life remain. The light no longer shines in. The night is dark and the wind howls in the polar vortex of the outdoors. But this mama of three knows – kissing baby toes in the sunlight was a gift, a moment received by her soul, given to be shared, so ALL would know – life is fleeting, grab the moment, every moment, the purpose of your life is here, now.

Amy

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4 comments
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  • Tiffany FemlingJanuary 28, 2014 - 12:33 am

    Great moments!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Revak MilkesJanuary 25, 2014 - 1:30 pm

    Oh Amy this one made me cry… How can it be that our babies are already non-babies? Seems like just yesterday we were contemplating their addition to our families. It’s so try about the realizations you have with that 3rd baby. I’m so glad you posted this post :). Soak it in… Every moment…ReplyCancel

  • Valerie HubelJanuary 24, 2014 - 10:07 pm

    Aww, you made me tear up! My baby is 3, and sometimes she says to me “pretend that I’m your baby”. Gladly…any day and for all time. These moments are so precious. ReplyCancel

  • Mary Katherine BoyleJanuary 24, 2014 - 5:14 pm

    Simply Beutiful
    ReplyCancel

  • Tom BaunsgardJanuary 24, 2014 - 4:04 pm

    Simply sweet! Thanks for sharing those baby toes in the sunlight!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Porras PedersonJanuary 24, 2014 - 3:58 pm

    Great post. Sure made me miss my babies. I love where they are now, but every once and awhile, I want my babies.ReplyCancel

  • Josie Lohman RobinsonJanuary 24, 2014 - 3:38 pm

    Great post , Amy! I remember posting something on Facebook years ago about having no problem getting rid of my kids’ old clothes but having a hard time parting with their shoes. Inga’s feet will be six in two weeks and they still get smooched, so don’t worry, you’ve still got years of smooching “the baby’s” feet 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Vicki ThunstromJanuary 24, 2014 - 3:33 pm

    This chokes me up with tears. My son turned 10 this past Sunday. My one and only “baby”. He is so big now, on the cusp of being a young man. I look at his feet often, a measure of how much he’s grown. This is so precious! Thanks for the memories…..baby toes are my very, very favorite. <3ReplyCancel

  • Peg GroenwoldJanuary 24, 2014 - 12:48 pm

    So precious and sweet. Your words let us all realize that ‘motherhood’ has many more generations to go…. Missing my babies!ReplyCancel

    • AmyJanuary 25, 2014 - 7:20 am

      Love your perspective, Peg! Often, I’m surprised that there are as many people as there are considering how challenging parenting can be! But then you look at moments like these, all the blessings that come from parenting, and you realize – no wonder there are so many people!ReplyCancel

  • Gretchen O'DonnellJanuary 24, 2014 - 11:57 am

    Ah, Amy! How dear and lovely and sweet. Combined with the photos, too – makes for a marvelous glimpse of a mama’s heart. A mama of three. So well written and delightful!ReplyCancel

    • AmyJanuary 25, 2014 - 7:19 am

      Thank you, Gretchen, for your kind words. Always a great honor coming from another writer. I’m sure you can relate being a mama of three. And I agree…the pictures were a MUST for this post. I was fortunate enough to be right next to my camera when inspiration came, so was able to capture the moment easily! Love it when that happens. Have a great weekend!ReplyCancel

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