I still rock her to sleep for her naps.
She's three years old, and I know she should be able to fall asleep on her own. At her preschool she readily joins the other children in nap time; she finds her own nap cot, lies down, and is out within a few minutes (so her teachers say). She's been able to do that for over a year, since she first made the transition to toddler naps in her old daycare center. But at home . . . she wants to be rocked. And her father and I have not been able to say No.
We don't want the fuss of a battle, or of making her cry. And she's so easy to rock to sleep: just five minutes or so in the rocking chair will do it. And although I can't speak for my husband . . .
I know that I like rocking her to sleep. I like holding her. I like feeling her against me.
She's getting so big. She's all dangly limbs spread out over me, not the compact weight of her infant sister. The dangly limbs go limp against me, her head rests comfortably on my shoulder, and her breathing deepens and slows. The hint of a snore. Her flying, tangled hair is in my nose, smelling of Johnson-and-Johnson's baby shampoo.
I won't have many years of this left. Soon she'll be closing her bedroom door on me, asking for privacy, pulling away from my touch with embarassment as she runs off to meet her friends at the mall. Already I can see her flying away from me; she's spending more and more time playing alone, independently, without the need for me by her side. Soon enough she'll be rolling her eyes at square old mom as she text messages her friends (or whatever it is kids will be doing at that time). She certainly won't be coming up to me with her arms raised, calling "I want to go up on you, Mommy!"
So yes, I still rock her to sleep. I still hold on, enjoying the feel of my first baby in my arms, the sweetness and the softness and the hardness of those growing limbs. The warmth and weight of her. I hold on, knowing that one day I'll no longer be able to.