the one about how i can wait

Yesterday morning, I didn't want to get up and going. My back hurt, and I had another night of sleeplessness between the hours of 4-7 a.m. My girls didn't care about that, though. I would say "Up with the sun," but since the sun doesn't come out until nearly 8 a.m. these days, these girls are up way before the sun.

I fumbled around, my 36 week pregnant belly adding to the overall clumsiness of my usual morning fog. I got the girls set up with some Doc McStuffins, blankets, and granola bars, and I slid back into bed.

Just as my eyes started to close again, I heard the familiar sound of an over-saturated diaper squishing between the legs of an almost two year old, with best friend Blankie dragging behind. I was expecting to hear, "More milkie!" or "I nack," code for I want a snack.

But all I heard was, "Hi. Mama."

Yes, she punctuates her sentences just like that…with a big pause between "hi" and "mama." It's just one of about three trillion things I love about her.

She toddles over to my side of the bed and extends her arms to me. With as much strength as these flabby, haven't-seen-a-gym arms could muster, I lifted her up and over my belly mountain to the other side of the bed. 

In what seemed like one, fluid, continuous motion, she snuggled down underneath my blanket, laid her head on the pillow beside me, and fit herself neatly into the bend of my arm. 

Pretty soon, she won't be "the baby." A new baby is due to arrive any day, and even though Charlotte is still wearing diapers and relying on pacifiers, she will look instantly older the second Shiloh takes her first breath. 

And so for that reason alone, as much as I want to meet this new life who will certainly flip our family on its head…well…technically she has already flipped our family on its head…, as much as I am ready for the stress of this pregnancy to be a thing of the past and for my diabetes/diabeetus to go away so I can drink a legitimate Starbucks…

I can wait. 

I've waited 36 weeks, the past 11 of them feeling more like 11 years, to meet this new baby. But I can wait a little longer, because for now, I've still got a baby curled up in my arms. She needs me. She wants me.

Still clutching the granola bar I had given her when she first woke up, she began nibbling on it. Little pieces were falling from her hand, onto my sheets and into the creases of her neck. I picked up the remnants that had fallen away and popped them back into her mouth. And before long, she was doing the same for me. Her little fingers holding tiny chocolate chips, dropping them into my mouth as I had done for her.

Every now and then, she would pat my arm and say, "Mama" in the same way an adult would say with a sigh, "I just love you."

The moments ticked on and Doc McStuffins ended. Full daylight was streaming in through my windows. Surely it was time to get up and moving. Laundry needed started. Lunches needed packed. Girls needed dropped off at preschool. Grocery store. Doctor's appointment. I needed to get started, but I reminded myself that I can wait a little longer.

I can wait.

I can wait because right now she's still the baby. 

And regardless of whether or not Shiloh decided to come that day, it would still be Charlotte's last day as a one year old.

Today, she is two.

I can hardly believe it, but I lived 28 years on this Earth before knowing this sweet and lovely child. She has enriched our family and given us so many reasons to smile in her short 24 months.

Everything she says, and nearly everything she does, is cute.

I mean…throwing food on the floor or dumping board games out is kinda cute, but not really.

I am so excited to see the little lady she becomes. She's got quite the fire inside of her, and I know she will make such an impact as the years lead on.

But I can wait.

I can wait because right now, maybe for even just one more day (or hour), she's still the baby.

And she won't share granola bars with me forever.

Happy birthday, my sweet, precious, baby Charlotte.

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