DS is 21 months. We have co-slept every night of his life.
We were visiting DH's parents this weekend at a time share condo place and our bedroom set up was not ideal for a family bed. Two small double beds in a small room. So DS and I went to one bed and DH to the other.
After a busy day and big night out to dinner DS fell fast asleep in the car on the way back to the condo. Usually when this happens he wakes upon getting out of the car or when I lay him in bed. Then I nurse him back to sleep. I got him out and put him in bed and he stayed SOUND asleep.
So I let him be and took a shower, read my book, packed to leave the next day, etc etc expecting him to wake for nursies within an hour or two.
DH was thrilled and said I should leave DS alone and climb in bed with him. Makes perect sense. How often do we get adult time alone? But as I did I had a panic attack.
I looked across the room at DS sleeping alone in the bed and I lost it. DH was trying to be romantic. I couldn't pay attention. I kept looking over at DS. I felt sick to my stomach. My heart was aching. I have had this little boy next to me 24/7 for 21 months of nights and there he was across the room sleeping without me for the night. I felt like a piece of me had been removed. I started to cry.
DH laughed at me. Sweetly. He kept saying, "He's RIGHT THERE"... but I couldn't feel him breathe and didn't hear his little snores and smell his milky breath and feel the tickle of his hair under my arms. I wanted so badly for him to wake up. But he kept sleeping.
The night passed and I kept thinking out all of the parents who WORK to have this happen. Who put their kids in cribs from the get go... it made my head spin. All I could see was thousands of nights stretching out infinitely in front of me where my sweet baby would be sleeping alone, in another room, in another place, without his mama and dada. It's the natural course of things. And all I have are these precious few and fleeting nights while he is small and attached and nursing and needy and cuddly. It is SUCH a short time in the grand scheme of things.
At around 2:30 am he stirred and called out "nana time mama" - asking to nurse. I spring out of bed like I was on fire and assumed my usual spot snuggled next to my babe.