When my babies were little, babywearing saved my sanity. I had structured carriers, ring slings, woven wraps; a whole stash of babywearing devices. I used them all the time.
I wore my babies to the farmers market. I wore them to walk the dog. I wore them while they nursed. I wore them while I bounced on a yoga ball and took conference calls for work. I wore them at the grocery store. I wore them while I cooked dinner. I wore them as I sang them to sleep at night.
Then they grew up, started walking, didn’t want to be worn as much as more. My sensitive, sweet and snuggly 4.5-year old son would still let me wear him, I think, but he’s like 50 pounds now, so . . . nah. My daughter, my wildly independent one, started squiggling and squirming out of her carriers around the age of 1. She wanted to do everything herself. Our babywearing days were over.
I sold or gave away most of my carriers, slings and wraps. There was one beautiful handwoven that had huge sentimental value (I also couldn’t get anyone to buy it for what I paid for it), so I had it “chopped” into two ring slings that my kids can inherit when they have kids, if they so desire.
But there’s still one old, well-worn, and well-loved wrap that was converted into a sling – it hangs on the back of my bedroom door and every once in a while when my daughter is having a hard time going to bed, I’ll wrap her up in it and hold her against my heartbeat, sing to her, and gently sway while she slowly drops into slumber . . .
She’s never once asked for it, though.
It’s just my own, old nostalgia that brings me to hold my babies close and rock them like I did when they were tiny and helpless.
Until last night.
My daughter and I brushed teeth, read a story, then laid our heads on pillows so I could snuggle her to sleep. In the darkness, I heard my daughter ask (well, demand – as is her style): “Mommy, get the orange thing that holds me.”
The “orange thing” is the old ring sling that hangs on the back of my bedroom door.
I wrapped my daughter in the soft fabric and cinched it tight through the rings: I sang; she snuggled close to my heartbeat, and we swayed, as she slowly, slowly relaxed her body and eventually started snoring gently.
I don’t know how many moments like this I will have with my wild, independent and strong-willed daughter.
All I know, is I will happily take every single second I can get, holding her close just like I did when she was tiny.
This is us, back in the day (she was home sick from daycare and I was cleaning the house with her on my back – I love this memory so much):