It’s almost 11 o’clock and you’re awake. You were asleep when I put you to bed 3 1/2 hours ago but now your eyes are wide open, staring at me, hoping to catch my eyes. You had a big day. You fought most of your naps, and got very overwhelmed when your cousins came to play. And that’s ok. Sleep is hard. Even Mama doesn’t sleep all that well and she has had decades of experiences.
I know some days you need extra cuddles and there just isn’t enough time in the daylight to fit them in. So while I sit here gently rocking you, I shift between frustration and understanding.
But most of all, I try to forge this moment into my memory. The way your blue eyes seem so black in this dim light. The coo of your voice muffled by the soother as you attempt to sing to keep yourself awake. The way your arm circles randomly as you drift into sleep. The warmth of your stomach , cradled against mine, pulsating with each of your irregular breaths as you try to fight each yawn, and finally the slow rhythmic breathing of sleep.
As you finally drift off, your hand grabs my thumb. Despite putting away all the pants that no longer covered your ankles this afternoon, and in spite of how grown up you seemed, sitting in your high chair at supper, you suddenly felt and looked as small as the tiny bit of a baby the day you were born. You so desperately needed me then, and I’d like to believe you still do now.
But in truth, what has changed the most between now and then is how desperately I need you.
So, my little one, I’ll let you drift in and out of sleep, looking up every so often to make sure I’m still here. And I hope we always will be right here in our memories.
Late night letter