I held you close tonight after feeding you, your head resting on my shoulder as you slept. You snored, as you often do when you settle back into sleep, and it’s in these night moments that I’m aware of how short a time you’ll be this small.
When you wake in the wee hours of the morning, or when day breaks and I peel myself from the bed, I wonder why it is that babies don’t sleep as much as their parents would like. But during that first wake-up, often before I’ve gone to sleep and when it’s quiet and dark and still, I cherish the moments I get to spend with your small, sleepy form.
Warm sometimes and cool others, your cheek is soft against mine as you lean against me while I try to coax a late-night burp. You tuck into me, your head to my neck, and I feel your soft breath. Your head smells like apricot baby oil and I inhale deeply.
I don’t want to put you down, in those moments when you once again feel part of me, but of course I must. You melt onto my shoulder, but only for a time, and then you need to be left to sleep in your bed.
So instead I lie and listen to the sounds of you. The snores and the sighs and the soft breathing.
And I breathe with you, because whether you are physically with me or not you are part of me and always will be.
Sleep, my babe, and I will see you when next you wake.
I was going to repost my valentine to Rich and Connor this year and then I realized that Ethan wasn’t in it. I thought about doing a second volume to incorporate him, but then when I was putting him to bed last night this appeared.
Happy Valentine’s Day.