Your first night on earth you slept.
You were tired from being birthed just a few hours earlier. I was too, but I barely slept. How could I? I was equal parts enamoured with you and terrified of you.
The second night neither of us slept. You were hungry and unsure what had happened to your warm, muffled womb. I was sore, and foggy, and sure that I had already failed as a mother because I couldn’t adequately feed you.
But milk comes in and formula can be given. Adoring family members can extend arms and rock babies while a few stolen minutes of sleep are had.
We spent our first few weeks figuring each other out. We spent too many early morning hours to count curled into each other on the couch watching reality tv marathons.
For the first year I nursed you to sleep. I can tell you exactly the songs I hummed and sang softly while you closed your eyes. Setting you down in your crib without waking you was a feat. If you woke, we started again.
After you weaned, I often found myself folded into your crib beside you so that you’d fall asleep. I’d frustratingly google sleep training and wonder if we’d missed the boat entirely.
When the crib became your brother’s, your big girl bed had more than enough room for a parent or two to snuggle in beside you. This was bedtime up until about 6 months ago. We’d read then lay beside you until your eyes closed and your breaths slowed and your face was a portrait of peaceful sleep.
Then one night, after weeks of later and later bedtimes (and sleepier and sleepier, more frazzled parents), we kissed you goodnight and let you fall asleep on your own. And, with no great fuss or hoopla, not even any protestation, you did.
Suddenly you didn’t need us beside you to fall asleep. I remember thinking that was what I wanted but then feeling a heaviness in my heart when it did.
Lately though, I’ve been staying longer and longer with you. You roll to face the wall, and place my arm over you. “Snuggle me” you ask.
And I oblige.