He hasn’t slept soundly almost all night. Air forcing it’s way through tiny passageways. It’s a loud endeavor.
To get to the soundly asleep phase he has to push through the almost-asleep-but-partly-awake phase. It reminds me of the one time I went kayaking in the ocean. To get to the smooth, undulating swells you have to push through the waves breaking at the shores. Those waves are tough. It takes work to push through them to serene sailing. And the struggle to move the air through his tiny nose and baby lungs is too much. It keeps him aware enough to remember that his hands are pinned to his sides and he thinks he’d really like to move them. Though that would be another distraction altogether.
And then there are the hiccups. That first, tiny noise puts me on notice. Sleep doesn’t come when your body shakes every few seconds.
I have so much to do. My hair is wet, my house a mess, laundry is in progress and needs to keep moving so that all of these are finished before family arrives.
But he needs his sleep.
I open his door and tip toe into his room. His eyes part slightly, acknowledging that I’m here. Again.
I scoop him up and settle into the glider. His head nestled against my shoulder, his small, swaddled body cradled in my arms, his eyes close. His lips turn up into a smile. I know it’s a sleeping smile, not prompted by anything, just one of those sweet little expressions babies make in their dreams. I read somewhere they are just working their muscles, learning their expressions. My mother-in-law says in those faces they are telling us about their past lives. I love that idea. So magical.
Be it just an exercise or a memory of a past life, I’ll assign my own meaning to that sweet little grin. It means Mommy is here and now he can sleep. His breath slows. The snorting and grunting stops. He is at peace.
I stay and rock a bit longer than I need to. Staring into his face. Trying to capture it’s contours in my mind. I know now that, as he grows, this face will fade. The baby roundness will morph into big kid features. One day I’ll look back at photos of this time and remark at how much he has changed. How he only slightly resembles this baby who fell soundly to sleep in my arms.
We bond in these moments. I cuddle him close and tell myself that this moment is precious while, at the same time, convincing myself that he will always let me hold him. That in these moments he is learning that there is peace in Mommy’s embrace. That when he struggles, when he has had a rough time, a bad day, a tough night. When he needs a little comfort to get him through to the next place, he can find that peace with me. In my arms.