I’d stopped checking on them.
Call it exhaustion. Reaching the very end of my day with barely enough left to brush my teeth before collapsing. Wanting to preserve enough to keep me from falling face first into my dreams.
Call it fear of waking the baby who sleeps so lightly. And not wanting to be inequitable. Can’t check on one but not the other.
Call it selfish. Misguided. Call it loosing a grasp on what matters. Prioritizing an extra minute of chasing slumber over another minute with them.
But I’d stopped checking on them.
And it was one of those things I didn’t think about during the day. We went on, all as normal. They didn’t know that I’d ever checked on them while they slept and so they didn’t notice when I stopped. By the time I rose each morning, I didn’t think about how I’d ended the day the night before.
And, to be honest, I sort of loved my new routine. For a while. To head straight to my own bed at night felt like freedom. No final task, lingering and waiting and demanding to be done before I could end my own day and give in to sleep.
And we kept going and everything was… fine.
And I know this isn’t the linchpin. Not checking on them didn’t unhinge and checking on them again won’t solve it all with one swift motion. But still, we began to strain. Something not right. Something missing. I love them but I’m so frustrated. I understand they are small and still quite new to this world but ugh their behavior is driving me batty.
And so last week, I walked out of the bathroom and down the hall. Quietly opened her door and tiptoed into her softly lit room. I moved her head back to her pillow, shifted her feet back onto the bed, and tucked her blankets around her. I slipped off my slippers and took every precaution and noiselessly moved into his room. I heard the soft baby breathing that once used to serenade me to sleep. And I rested my hand on his soft little head.
And she’s grown, you know. Or maybe the bed has shrunk. Because I don’t notice it during the day. But her limbs are longer than the last time I was here. Her body heavier and more difficult to move back into place.
And he sleeps more deeply now. I still take care to be as silent as humanly possible but he doesn’t stir.
And before I leave, I whisper I love yous. So much, I love you so much. Good night, my loves. And I believe that my words travel into their hearts and wander around in their dreams.
And these moments with them, so brief but so peaceful. These are the moments when the days melt away. And I remember that they are mine to love and cherish and protect and nurture. And how amazing is that, that they are mine. That they came to me so easily and it was obviously meant to be because nobody can love them like I can and the reverse is one hundred percent true as well.
I’d stopped checking on them and the days stopped melting away but instead hardened and solidified and I’d forgotten that they are mine and to be cherished and nurtured.
And so, I’ve started checking on them again.