Reese has been sleeping really well for the last week, so well that I did not expect to be awoken at 3 am last night, but it was by her sweet whimpers that echo through my baby monitor.
On this night at 3 am I am happy, not annoyed, to have my precious sleep interrupted.
In this moment, late at night, she is mine and I am hers. I am grateful for night wakings sometimes.
It’s just the two of us, my thoughts, our snuggles and the white noise blaring in the background.
I found myself actually ok with getting some snuggles and not being upset. You see, she has been sleeping through the night (yeah!) and doing so in her own crib for the past week (Double Yeah!).
I have been looking forward to her sleeping through the night since I had her. It’s finally arrived and in this moment I am extremely proud, but surprisingly sad at the same time. I am sad because I miss her and she is growing up so fast. Before I became a parent, I mocked parents that did EVERYTHING for their kids and simply couldn’t let go. You have one job as a parent, I thought, and it’s to raise them to be independent and a productive member of society. I still believe that, but what I didn’t realize is how hard and challenging it is to stick to your guns when it comes to this goal. I have selfish motives and I want to snuggle and hold her as much as possible.
She is growing and moving so much that she doesn’t snuggle and cuddle with me as much as she once did. Also, being a working mom leaves me little time to get the moments I really want with her during the week. Once we get home, the mission is to eat dinner, play a bit, bathe and bedtime. That doesn’t make time for much of anything else.
Don’t get me wrong – I am beyond excited to see her grow and learn how to crawl and eventually walk – but I do miss the cuddles already and she is only 6 months old.
So, you see, at 3 am she is all mine.
No distractions, no checking my emails, no bills to pay, nobody asking me, “What’s for dinner?”, no rushing around to get her ready to go to one place or the other.
In this moment, in the darkness with her night light on, her calm and collected body in my arms, eyes shut, I cherish this moment and know that it will be gone quicker than I can blink. I look at her fast asleep and wonder what her future entails. I daydream about her future and the girl she will become. I catch myself falling asleep with her in my arms and then I put her back in her crib, pat her little behind and kiss her goodnight. She never fusses at this hour and she drifts back to sleep like the little angel she is. I catch myself staring at her and thanking God for the true miracle and blessing that she is. What did I do to deserve this moment, I wonder?
In this moment, she is mine and I am hers.
This is the first of many independent steps she will make and there are many more to look forward to: crawling, walking, talking, staying with her grandparents, going to school, spending the night with friends, being too cool to be seen with her parents, going to Summer Camp, falling in love, driving a car, graduating school and eventually moving out. How the heck do parents do this? If I can hardly handle her being able to sleep through the night and in her crib, I don’t see it getting any easier for the bigger tasks at hand.
As much as I want to coddle her and keep her to myself most of the time, I know that the greatest gift I can give her is the gift of independence and building her confidence to do so. And, that is one of the biggest challenges I have faced thus far. Knowing that my personal goal as a parent is to teach her valuable lessons and skills and knowing that she was not created to suffice my own selfish needs. Yes, I love to be loved and yes, I love the attention she gives me, but I know in the grand scale of it all, this experience is not all about me – it’s about her. That is the vow that I took when I decided to be a parent. I am her teacher, I am her mentor and I am her first love, but I know I won’t be her last love.
Tonight I will lay my head down and secretly hope that we will meet again to our usual date, but who am I kidding, a full night of sleep sounds pretty darn great! I am sure I will be kicking myself for even wishing for a return of our 3 am dates when she is up at all hours of the night with a bout of teething or a growth spurt. I guess it is true that you always want what you can’t have, but I am finally learning that I am okay and pretty happy with what I do have!
To my sweet daughter, sleep tight and I will see you in the morning or at 3 am for our usual date. Keep in mind that the 3 am date reservation does not apply when you are a teenager because your sweet little butt better be in by your curfew. Always be the angel that you are right now! Again, who I am kidding, if kharma does exist we are in for some trouble!
In this moment you are mine and I am yours…