Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mutual feelings of need

For the first several months of her life, Loaf slept in bed with me. I was nursing and with a 20something-month-old toddler to care for on top of an infant, it made the most sense.

There came a point when she stopped eating in the middle of the night and I desperately wanted her out of our bed. Mark was sleeping on the couch and I missed him. I wanted him back with me, so into the room next door she went.

But in the beginning, it was bliss. Just she and I nuzzled up together. I loved reaching over and cupping her peach-fuzzed head in my hand. We’d sleep sometimes nose-to-nose, breathing each other in warm, deep slumber. Other times I’d wake up with her nuzzled in the crook of my arm like a cat, her fat baby cheek spread out on my shoulder.

Long-term co-sleeping is not for me. While I could sleep through fireworks as a youth, I am far too light a sleeper these days. I wake at the slightest sound or touch and anyone who has ever slept next to a small child knows they are restless and noisy even in sleep.

Yet I miss it sometimes. Those soft, hazy mornings when we’d wake in sync and she’d look up at me from under mile-long lashes before flashing me a giant, toothless grin and I’d place the softest of kisses upon her velvety forehead.

This week Loaf is sick and the nights have been rough. She’s waking every couple of hours, or whimpering in her sleep without really coming fully awake. I have laid in my bed for two straight nights listening to her struggles to gain comfort until last night it became too much.

At my request, Mark brought her to me shortly after I went to bed and she slept next to me for most of the night. I woke at one point when a foot slammed into the back of my head, but otherwise, it was peaceful and reminiscent of her early days. Placing a gentle kiss upon her brow I curled my arm around her and pulled her against me. She sighed deeply, finally finding the deep rest she needed.

Today, I woke before my alarm and watched her sleep, her tiny chest rising and falling, her small mouth drawing in slow breaths. The moment was so precious, so full of peace. I cupped her head in my hand. It no longer fits there the way it used to and her hair, once downy and short, is now full of long, wiry curls.

She has changed so much since those early days, yet she still needs me.

Little does she know how much I need her too. And in that, we both find comfort.

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Anonymous Aunt Kath said...

Isn't it amazing how our lives are wrapped around the day to day passages of our children? Something that seemed so new about them soon changes into another stage gone by with another new one to replace it. What we're left with is our memories and our love for them always.

3:18 PM  

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