I’ve always worn my children. Babywearing, the act of wearing your child in some from of a child carrier, has always been a part of my parenting. I have owned many various carriers over the years from pouch slings to ring slings to mei tais to structured carriers. I have loved most of them for different reasons, each of them serving a varied purpose as the boys have grown. I have sold some as the boys outgrew the purpose. I have kept others, the ones that still work for us and, of course, one or two as keepsakes. Maybe I’ll pass them on someday so that my grandchildren can be worn. Perhaps I will wear my grandchildren as my mother has done.
LittleBrother is twenty-one months old. I didn’t wear BigBrother much at all after he turned two, his personality demanding to be put down, to run and jump and otherwise be free from the constraints of mommy and her carriers. I was surprised when I asked LittleBrother if he would like to ride and he gave me a happy little, “Yes.” I also experienced the easiest back carry I have ever accomplished. Why? I asked him to stand on the bed… and he did. I tossed the straps out on either side of him across the bed, lifted him onto my back and pulled the straps up over our shoulders. BigBrother was never still enough to do such a thing. Had I asked him to stand on the bed, he would have done so ever-so-briefly before launching into a jumping spree. These children are so different.
We took a fall walk. Of course, it’s not quite fall yet but the temperatures in the area are cool and crisp for the moment. We wore long pants, the sounds of BigBrother’s active pant-legs swooshing against each other as he ran in front of us. I was worried that with BigBrother walking, LittleBrother would want down to run beside the boy he would attempt to climb mountains just to follow, to be near. I was happily surprised when he was content for the entire walk. Every now and again he would put his head down on my back just as he did when he was younger. My heart would soar and plummet all in the same brief second.
I know these days are limited. As he continues to grow, I will lose the ability to carry him for a mile and a half or more. BigBrother is already too heavy for me to carry him on my back for such a length (though he did ask once to have a ride on our walk yesterday). Furthermore, I fear that in the very near future he will want to run and jump and play instead of hang out on my back. I will let him, of course. The desire for him to grow and learn will surpass my desire to keep him so close to me. But I’ll mourn a bit for the days gone by.
I am thankful that I have so many pictures with the boys in various slings and carriers. Front carries, back carries, nursing in a carrier. I am thankful that I’ve been able to wear them this long, one of their durations meshing with the follower for four continuous years of babywearing. I am thankful for strong, durable carriers that have passed the test of time and toddlers and car doors and teething and mud puddles and washing machines. I am thankful for little heads on my back, little fingers on my shoulders.
As we enter what is likely our last season of babywearing, I predict many a fall walk. We may get a walk or two in the winter with him cuddled closely in our Peekaru vest. By next Spring, however, he’ll likely be too busy to hang out on my back. Who wants to ride when you can run anyway? I will treasure these next few months. I am hopeful that we’ll take more pictures and make more memories in the process. As my babywearing days begin to end, I look to the future and pray that something will keep us as close as the feeling of having a little head rest upon my back during a lovely walk. If not physically, in our hearts, souls and minds.