Sometime in the wee hours of the morning the skies let lose, and the thunder and lightning woke the little one. A few minutes later all four of her limbs were wrapped tightly around me and she was asleep again, flinching occasionally at the loudest cracks, but otherwise breathing heavily next to me. I stayed awake, holding her, and worrying about my other daughter (and her dad), camping outside somewhere during the storm. I wondered if they were okay, if they were dry, if they were getting any rest at all.
The days often feel so, so long, but it’s usually the nights when I feel the gravity of this role. Comforting until sleep returns, worrying when I’m too far away to comfort. Any contract with sleep is broken in those first moments when that baby is here – and often long before then, in those nights of worrying and hoping that they will arrive, safe and sound. All those hours of sleep that slip off into another realm – perhaps they are claimed by others in different life places, filling up morning minutes after raucous late night adventures, or sneaking in stealthily around lazy afternoon spenders on a porch swing somewhere. Their missing makes circles under our eyes and lines on our forehead and more than a few silver strands in our hair, but it also means soft, dimpled elbows across our chest and freshly cleaned hair under our noses, and the sound of the deep sleep of others, not us.
Happy Mother’s Day. (Especially to my mom and her many missed hours of sleep!)