I think it’s almost time for me to pack you all away — my Ergo, my Baby Bjorn, my sling. He’s 2 now, and while not yet too heavy, he resists containment. His days of yielding, of snuggling his small body into mine, are waning. So it’s almost time to press you into a box and stash you in the attic in faith there will soon be a “next time.” And next time I’ll already know the tricks and won’t tie myself in literal knots trying to master the shoulder side-carry. Next time I will greet you with relief, my one essential item that keeps my hands free and lets me Get Stuff Done, that holds my new baby snug and close to my beating heart.
But before I pack you away, I need you to know how much you’ve meant to me.
It was scary, giving birth that February. It hadn’t snowed all winter, and then as soon as I was in sight of my due date it snowed All The Snow. We could barely see out the windows for the snow drifts, so the idea of getting outside with a newborn terrified me to death. But I had you, my Ergo, and with my mum’s encouragement, we bundled up the baby, cocooned him in the infant insert, and strapped him to me. The stroller wouldn’t have made it down the driveway, but wearing him and with my mum to steady me, I was able to get out and walk and feel a part of the world again.
There were days — weeks — where the only way he’d sleep during the day was when I was wearing him. Some days I didn’t even take you off — I’d just walk around with the waistband on, ready to cradle him up and strap you around him. Then I could rock and sway and cook or clean and he’d sleep.
Because of you I’ve kissed his head more times than I can count.
Without you we’d never have undertaken our first hike at 2 months, or shown him his first marathon.
I’m not sure I’d have survived our first flight at 3.5 months, and I know I’d never have made it to England solo at 18 months. If not for you, we’d probably have been kicked out of that wedding we took him to at 20 months.
With him on me I could wander around outside in our yard that first summer, waiting for a neighbor to pass by and to get my fix of human contact. It meant he could see out, see the world, and still feel safe and close to me.
It also made me look the part, which was important in those early days, because it helped me feel the part. If I could look in the mirror or a shop window reflection and see a Mom, perhaps I really was one.
Basically, baby carrier, you’ve been my lifeline. You’ve kept him warm and safe and close. You’ve enabled me to get out. You’ve let me cook, clean, write, and hike. You’ve calmed and contained an energetic toddler and helped us climb mountains and cross oceans.
I may never quite forgive you for that time I put you through the washing machine with our passports in your zippered pouch, but hey, nobody’s perfect.