All of my babes have spent much time in this sling. But today, I'm thinking about Calvin in particular - because really he's clearly 'outgrown' the sling itself, but certainly not the sentiment behind it, and I don't think he ever will (do we ever? I don't think so.) So now we get that same connection in other ways, and just as naturally - a snuggle, a hug, a touch, or even just the way we look at each other.
I carried him in this very sling for hours upon hours of every day of his new life six years ago. He slept in it, nursed in it, shed tears in it, and laughed in it. And even as he grew, and started to crawl, then walk, run, skip, and eventually cartwheel...it's always been a place of refuge for him - however brief the visit to it might be. The snug little spot that it is - either in the sling or out, where he puts his head right next to my heart and I can see in his eyes that he knows he is loved, cared for and safe. And I have a moment of peace, pride and confidence -however brief it may be - that I know that I'm doing my job well. And that everything is exactly as it should be.
I can (and do) pop a baby in this sling in seconds even in the middle of a sleep - it feels so second nature. Knowing just where the little hands and fingers will lay along my side, where the seam of the sling fits on thier body - it's all etched in my mind. And it's etched in my body - etched in the way that one shoulder and arm is so much stronger, and bigger, than the other from always carrying on that side. The way my hip bones have surely shifted to accomodate this. The same way that one breast is larger than the other from more frequent nursing. Long after there is no baby in my sling, or on my hip, or at my side, I'll still have these reminders. And my greatest parenting hope is that my babies will have them too. That as they leave my breast, my sling, my hip, and our home, they'll remember it. They'll remember it with thier bodies in a way that they never doubt, and in way that they no longer need me for, and in a way that forever brings them peace and comfort. They'll remember that they are loved so very completely.