When you were a brand new baby you made little grunting noises from your bed. It would start with that, then turn into crying. I’d swaddle you or nurse you and lay you back down…dreaming of when you’d go to sleep. “Please sleep, baby,” I’d whisper to your soft bald head.
Your eyes would finally close and you’d be whisked away into itty bitty baby dreams. I’d stare at you for a minute, savoring the sweet still silence so my thoughts could collect again…and then I’d miss you. When will you wake up? I’d wonder to myself. “Wake up sweet baby,” I’d whisper, “I miss you.”
Tonight, I dragged myself through bedtime. I sang songs, prayed prayers, and kissed your foreheads. “Mama can I have water?” one of you called. Two of you wrestled and another one came out in fuzzy pink sweatpants to tell me a story I was too tired to hear.
I got the water, stopped the wrestling (kind of), and told you to get back in bed.
“Good night sweet ones,” I said over you for the second or third or fourth time, “please, please, (for the love of God) go to sleep!” An edge of annoyance was in my tone as I dragged my weary bones to the couch.
Finally, silence fell over the house. Never has quiet been so welcomed.
I sat with my favorite blanket savoring the stillness. I took a long deep breath and laid my head back.
And then I thought of you. I stood up and wandered to your bedroom door, peeking through the crack…
I stared at you (my oldest) who is eleven years old now. Your feet are bigger than mine and your giant long legs poke out the bottom of your blankets. Your face has become defined and old and your jokes make me laugh. Your thoughts teeter between mature and childlike and it is with joy and sorrow I realize you are growing up. “Wake up sweet boy,” I think to myself, “I miss you.”
I stare at you (my second born) who is nine now. It seems like just yesterday you were all chub and fluff. Your round cheeks and your round brown eyes were one of a kind. You are lanky and muscular now. You are full of big words and intricate thoughts; I adore you. “Wake up son,” I whisper to the lump of blankets you’re buried under, “I miss you.”
I stare at you (my first girl child). You sleep like an angel. You are still and precious with your face pointed towards the sky. You are so full of life and joy it lights my heart on fire. Your pants get shorter on your long legs almost daily. I put my hand on your arm laying still across your sheets. I want to squeeze it, but I don’t. “Wake up precious one, tell me another story,” I think, “I miss you.”
I stare at you (my forever baby). You are never laying on your pillow. You are sideways tonight with blankets kicked on the floor. I pull one over your back and I lean in to smell your hair. You’re not such a baby anymore. Every day the baby leaves your face, and I both grieve and celebrate the process. “Wake up my sweet,” I think, “I miss you.”
When you’re awake I dream of bedtime…
When you’re asleep I miss you with all my heart.
Please go to sleep,
but please wake up quickly, because you are my favorite kind of tired.