Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sleeping Beauties

There’s something about children sleeping… their faces soften, the creases smooth out, and they resemble their infant selves more than anything.  When I look at my boys sleep, I am conscious of not only the overwhelming love a parent feels for his or her children, but also a deep sense of desire and longing for my last baby, the baby inside.


photo 1 (13)


Jamie sleeps with us most nights.  Not all night; he shuffles into our room around midnight in a sleepy haze and quietly looks at me.  I help him scramble into bed between me and Tony and I get up to go to the bathroom.  When I wake up to go to the bathroom the next time (not usually more than a couple hours later), I gently wake Tony and ask him to return the boy to his own bed, the boy whose body has somehow grown in the last two hours to take up all available space in our bed and then some.


photo 3 (12)


He rejoins us at about 5 am.  Sometimes this is just after Tony leaves for work, sometimes just before.  By early morning, I start to feel chill and I welcome his warmth, his sweet breath blowing in my ear, even the faint tang of wet diaper.


photo 2 (12)


Charles doesn’t come into bed with us anymore.  He sleeps like a rock through the night.  He’s the first to fall asleep and the last to wake up.  He doesn’t smell so sweet anymore, either.  But oh, he looks it.


I’m hyper aware of time passing these days.  Maybe it’s tax season and the busyness of my own work coupled with the myriad tasks I do alone at home.  Maybe it’s knowing, with certainty, that this will be the last baby.  These next 18+ weeks will be the last weeks I will feel a baby kick inside of me.  The next few years will be the last years of the newborn smell, of relaxing with a sleeping infant in my arms, and yes, getting up in the middle of the night, stumbling through lack of sleep, all to nourish and comfort and love the last of my children.


I know now what I did not know, did not feel, before: that soon this last child, the one who is even now beginning to wake me with kicks and back flips in my womb, will eventually sleep like a rock instead of sneaking into my room in the middle of the night, ever-so-sweetly asking to get into bed with me and Tony.  The soft cheeks and kissable thighs will disappear to reveal strong muscles and gangly limbs, the baby words will gradually turn into multi-lingual complex sentences.  Jamie, Charles, and 3rd Baby will all be kids, energetic and unwilling to be snuggled for long periods of time.


I would, if I could, take back all those wishes I made for my kids to just sleep, dammit, in their own beds, all night long.


Relish.  Savor.  Slow down.  Breathe.  Be thankful for these daily gifts my growing children give.  These are my mantras.  I cannot stop time, but I can attempt to imprint the memories and preserve the feeling of my babies in my arms.

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