i hold you in my arms, your face nuzzled into my breast, your hands seeking an anchor on my arms, my lips, my hair.
your eyes are closed, your mouth still working, still seeking milk.
i stand, working my hardest to stay silent, and tiptoe to your bedroom. i look down at you for a few moments, press kisses to your sweat-damp hair, still golden and silk-soft.
my heart is torn. i long for sleep–deep, undisturbed sleep, but my arms ache for you when you are not held close to my side, your arms and mouth seeking comfort throughout the night.
i kiss your lipscheekshands, then lay you down, covering your just-moving limbs with your blanket, hesitating by your side.
maybe i’ll keep you with me.
just for tonight.
instead, i slip away to my own bed, both relieved and pained to be apart from you.
relief and pain–a mother’s constant companions.
i will never stop being amazed by the difference sleep can make. the difference between collected and irritable–capable of loving through tantrums and stubbornness, or ready to snap at the slightest provocation.
i have not slept in well over a year. each night, i wake, after only 3-4 hours of sleep.
sometimes to give you milk.
sometimes to wait for your cry–a cry that, two nights, has never come.
this loss of sleep fascinates me. how a single hour can be the tipping point to either all-day frustration, or all-day serenity.
so much of our kindness, our patience, our drive is predicated upon those nightly hours.
will we wake content, refreshed? or will we wake with anger ready to claw at our throats, burn in our hearts, explode from our lips?
someday, my love, i hope you will learn to sleep. i hope you will learn to soothe yourself from waking during the night, in the afternoons when you nap. i hope you and i will be able to get a good night’s rest, undisturbed by hungry cries, or angry peals.
someday, love, i hope we will wake refreshed, recharged, and ready to tackle the day ahead.
until then, i will linger at your bedside, debate whether it will ruin your routine too much to keep you with me, tucked into my side, my lips resting against your hair–
just for tonight.