A Valentine for Ethan

Dear Ethan,with-mom-4-months

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.



  1. Lack of sleep aside, I absolutely adored those same moments. So lovely.

    • Sometimes I rail against the lack of sleep, but that’s partly why I wanted to write this down as I thought of it. It helps me remember that it’s so temporary.

  2. So sweet – and I miss it so much. I had to settle for watching my valentine warm his bare 5 year old buns by the fire this evening and had to resist the urge to go pinch them.

  3. Aw, that’s so sweet. I love sleepy babies.

  4. Nothing like a baby to cuddle in all stages of awake and sleep. Love it!

  5. I absolutely adore these moments with mine. Yes, I’m exhausted, but there is nothing like this time with them.

    • So true. Sometimes even when I feel like I’m going to fall asleep or die I sit a little longer with him, just because he’s so precious.

  6. Ah, Robin, how this speaks to me in so many ways, although I don’t know the love of cuddling a wee one. So beautiful. :)

  7. I miss those moments. Whst a sweet picture you’ve painted, Robin.

  8. Lovely, Robin.

  9. What a beautiful tribute to your littlest valentine! I miss those snuggly moments.

  10. I am cherishing these kinds of moments even more the second time around. Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Awe, such a cute post. Thanks!

  12. Le sigh. This is lovely.

  13. Oh – I love that picture of the two of you. I so rarely get to really snuggle with my son anymore – unless he’s sick and then I’m too worried to really enjoy it. Happy Valentine’s Day, Ethan!

  14. This is so, so sweet. Would you like to link it up with me today?

    Man I miss having a baby!

  15. I haven’t updated my blog in 18 months or so. But I liked what you inspired me to write so much that I posted it on my own blog instead.

    So thank you for that. And Happy Valentine’s Day.

  16. So lovely, those moments are the absolute best part of motherhood. Truly.

    Happy Valentine’s Day, my friend. xoxo

  17. Developmental psychologists say it takes our kids about 4 years to realize that our bodies and their bodies are separate. I say it’s not until they are parents that they will realize: they never really are. Beautiful words Robin.

  18. This was really beautiful Robin. I love when one intention (in your case to re-post your older letter to Rich and Conner) leads to a totally unexpected and heartfelt post like this. I did the same thing this week… I was going to write my husband a short valentines day note and it turned into a impromptu blog post :)

  19. What a great memory for your little one to have for years to come! I always mean to journal but somehow I always forget! I will have to set aside more time to write down these memories as they are fresh in my mind!

    • This is one I had in my head as I was putting him to bed, and I wrote it down immediately. That’s the only way it comes out right, and I would never remember it otherwise. I’m so glad to have some of these things to remember when they’re bigger!

  20. What a sweet letter :-)
    You have to cherish those moments

  21. This is so sweet. It has inspired me to write a love note to my daughter next year!