I have to fight with my eyes to wake. They’re reluctant to open, sealed shut with sleep and tethered to dreams of splendor. I will them open anyway and stumble towards the coughing in the other room.
My legs have needles in them and I look like I’ve just spent too much time on a boat, swaying back and forth and bumping into door jams. I have no concept of time other than it’s dark thirty, my head is heavy and I should be in bed nursing my sinus infection.
Sleep. Ugh. I just need sleep.
My son is coughing so hard he gags. He let’s out a cry of pain and suddenly I’m awake, my frustration turning to sympathy. With my limited brain function I tend to his cough. I scoop him up from his crib, place him on my lap and together we lay, my chin resting on his head and our chests breathing together in perfect harmony. I feel him twitch occasionally as he eventually drifts back into slumber.
I stay there for longer than I need to. He’s been fast asleep in my lap for well over 20 minutes but I can’t tear myself away. I’m caught up in fond memories of a time when I didn’t mind getting up in the middle of the night to comfort him. In those early days I would sit in the same chair we were sitting in now, rock my son to sleep and then watch him breathe. My husband would tell me to come back to bed but even through utter exhaustion nothing seemed more important than staring at his little face. I didn’t want to miss a thing.
Laying here tonight I wonder why motherhood no longer seems to have the same luster it did when I first gave birth; why I feel like a shadow tending to someone else’s footsteps. Where did the allure go? I think it’s must be with all of the socks that have gone missing in the dryer.
It never seems to end, the day. In the hustle of daylight and the stillness of the night, I’m needed. Sometimes the milk isn’t warm enough or the toy needs fixing. He can’t find his ball and his foot is caught in the crib for the hundredth time. He needs a bath and insists on bringing his favorite blanket in the tub. I relent because he stinks and we can’t skip bath time again. I manage to wash and dry said blanket before bedtime just to watch him toss it out of the crib.
The effort to please him seems like time well spent, sigh. Not really.
When the laundry is piling and the bathroom needs cleaning and you have 5 minutes to wash and dry a blanket before bedtime, it’s easy to think of time as the enemy. But tonight, I remember. I have my whole world bundled up in my arms and I don’t care that my head hurts or that I have to be up in a couple of hours.
I can’t see his face in the darkness of the room but it doesn’t matter. I feel the warmth and tenderness of his skin and a love so big that it’s hard to imagine it fits into such a tiny human being. Before I lay him back down, I kiss him 20 times and thank the Universe for giving me a few moments to recapture an enamor that seemed long gone.
Even in the middle of night love expands and we wake up that much richer.
– The Confessioness