I used to think sleeping through the night was most important. And my body’s tired and the floor is cold and my space in bed is empty and I would love a full night’s sleep. But I have already forgotten my feet and my arms are full.
And it’s longer tonight because she’s not just hungry, she can’t sleep. And I know how that is. I know what it is to have thoughts swirling and days replaying and I know all about please-just-stay-a-little-longer.
So I bend my head over hers and I close my eyes and pray for peace while her wide eyes search corners of the room, fighting sleep. I stand up again and start to sway and her thumb finds her mouth and those blue eyes look up at me.
From beneath heavy lids, those eyes look up at someone who almost bought the lie that babies are something you get after a diploma and a wedding and a job and a mortgage. And those eyes belong to a person. Not to an item on a checklist. And this person sees me. And it’s good enough, so she sighs and lays her head on my chest. My arms are full of her.
And her eyes close and mine wander. And I see pictures of the days when I could measure head to toe on the length of my arm. When downy fuzz still coated chubby cheeks and when naptime meant an hour of couch cuddling bookended by more cuddling. And now she moves too fast and there’s so much to explore that these late night minutes are the stillest we have.
And her breaths are deep and warm and her free hand pats my side. And I don’t care about jobs or degrees or titles. I don’t care what people think stay-at-home-mom means. I am living what it means. And it is full and it is rich and it is hard and it is beautiful. And gratitude rises in my heart and the tears fill my eyes.
The Lord has given me what I didn’t know I wanted. What I couldn’t have thought to ask for. He tenderly tore me from my dreams to give me his. He turned my wailing into dancing; he removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing his praise and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forevermore. (Ps. 30:11-12)