Women see children with different eyes than husbands do.
~Lisa-Jo Baker, Surprised By Motherhood, p132~
I sneak into your room while you nap, tiptoe gently across your rug, peer into your crib. Precious little limp body, resting so peacefully and sweetly. Blankie nearby, left thumb in your mouth ~ just the way you like it. Porcelain skin with rosy hues, the nightlight-lit room is dim and you look like a palette of creams and peaches and pinks, with your coppery hair lying all glossy and straight at the top. I smooth a stray wisp behind your ear so I can have a clear view of your eyelid. I love to kiss those soft little lids. Your eyebrows perfect little rainbows above the raindrop-blue eyes that flutter about in dreamland. What dreams do you see behind those eyelids? I can only imagine what you see, while I stand here looking at you in a hush, slowing my breathing with yours, until I feel as restful as you seem. Over the hum of your little room fan, I swear I can hear your heart beating ~ that heart that once beat underneath mine, and that now continues to make mine dance to a different rhythm.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Little ear. I trace my finger along its roads. It is perfect. Kissable. I think of all the secrets I have whispered in there, and can not begin to imagine all the secrets that it will yet hear throughout the remainder of your life. Button nose, with your fist’s fingers curled just ever so slightly over the round of the button. Just like I used to do. Dimpled chin beneath perfect rosebud lips. Dimpled fingers. Sticky fingers, stray bits of strawberries left over from lunch under your fingernails. You set your bed up just so every time you are put to bed. Blankie and blanket ~ and you especially like the elephant quilt on which your head now rests. You lined up your babies and your animals at the other end of the bed today, but sometimes they are lined up directly with you, some on your one side and some on your other. They all have names, and sometimes I hear you say nigh-night to them and tuck them in by name: Puppy, Bunny, Pink Bunny, Anne, Bea, and occasionally Doggie and Lolly too. You often insist on having a stacks of “gooks” in there to read to your babies before you snuggle down for sleep. Today was one of the days where you needed to have your purse with you ~ stocked with a baby bottle and yellow sunglasses. You are my sunshine. You feed my soul.
If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
In this sacred little place, I can hold onto the very last vestiges of your babyhood. Blankie. Thumb in your mouth. Crib. Diapered bum. It isn’t even so much the peaceful stillness of watching you sleep that holds me here in a trance, but the simple joys that these vestiges give me. It makes me think of the song I danced to with my daddy at my wedding: I’ll always be your baby. And I wonder if sometimes when my parents look at me, they can still blink and see me in the back of their eyelids, holding my buppy and sucking my thumb and sleeping in the safe haven of a baby’s crib. You grow up too fast, my little doll. Time somehow slows down while you sleep, and I want nothing more than to stand here drinking in these slow moments, memorizing them, loving them. Loving you. Loving being your mommy, and you my baby. I take a step backward and breathe in a big sigh. It is as though I remember your entire past and envision your entire future while I stand here. I will never tire of watching you sleep. When you are grown and snuggling your own child, if you fall asleep, I will walk in and watch you, and I will see you in the back of my eyelids just as you are here today. Dimpled, porcelain, rosy, coppertopped, limp, surrounded by little things that bring you big joys, peacefully breathing in and out the gloriousness that is the grace of life.
I back out slowly from your room, blowing you kisses, blessing you with heard yet unspoken prayers. Sleep, my sweet princess, snuggled deep into tranquil coziness. Be filled to the brim with rest until you overflow with so much life your thumb pops out and your eyes pop open, and you gather up your armful of pleasant things to call out for me to pick you up and set you on the path of energetic life once again.
…He gives to His beloved sleep.