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Dear Baby, When You Are Asleep

Photograph by Twenty20

As the moonlight spills softly in through the window, illuminating the sight of you in your footie pajamas, I feel my heart twist with love for you.

The day’s struggles fall from my mind, the hours I spent watching the clock, the texts I sent in desperate attempts for human interaction, the tears I shed walking you around to soothe your cries.

I look at your impossibly long eyelashes, resting so delicately on your rounded cheeks and my breath draws inward, gasping at your perfect beauty. How can I love someone so much? How can I be so exhausted but aching to hold you once more?

I take in your ridiculously cute swaddled form, your chubby fingers that always make their way out, the way your bottom lip moves like you’re still nursing in your sleep, and I am filled with an ache that is hard to describe.

It's as if I am living the entirety of my life in these quiet moments, the years zooming before me as I rest my forehead on the cool wood of your crib.

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Am I enjoying every moment enough? Am I soaking it in enough? How on earth do I balance loving every minute of your adorable babyhood when I'm also so freaking tired?

I know that when they say it goes so fast they are blinded by the memory loss that comes with age, because I feel like it's flying by—but also crawling by.

I can see all of it, your entire life, graduation, marriage and moving out, even as I know part of me will remain frozen in time in this very moment, the sleep-deprived mother watching you in love, always seeing part of you that will remain my baby forever.

I contemplate how lucky I am to have you here, marveling at the miracle of life that led you here, the months of sacrifice I went through, but how little those inconveniences were in the picture of seeing you here now.

I’ll always be behind you, fighting for you with all of my strength, even when I have nothing left.

My heart breaks when I think of all the mothers who would gladly take my place on this carpet, who would trade a million and a half sleepless nights and ugly stretch marks and months of morning sickness, for the chance to look upon your sleeping face. How is it that I am here and they are not? Is there a reason to any of this? Or are we all just born in an endless quest for love, wherever we may happen upon it?

I think of the power of birth, you rushing into the world with me behind you, fighting with all my might, and how that will never, ever change. I’ll always be behind you, fighting for you with all of my strength, even when I have nothing left.

Despite the fact that I should be getting much needed sleep myself, I rest my head softly against the wooden slats of your crib and breathe you in for just a second longer, basking in the glow of my love for you. With every breath you take, I felt my own breath slow, my heart rate calming as the hardships of the day settles around me, like a weary cape I can at last let drop to the floor.

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Tomorrow, I vow, I will do better.

I will drink less coffee and be more grateful and greet your dad with a kiss instead of a grunt at the door. I will enjoy every moment and kiss your thighs and never, ever, not even once complain for the profound gift that is your presence in my life. I will be in the moment and not waste time on my phone, feeling just a tad bit envious of that one friend who's posting pictures of her flat abs from the beach.

I will, I vow, love you every minute you are awake with as great as fervor as I am loving you, in this moment, as you sleep peacefully within my arm's reach.

Until my forehead accidentally clangs against the crib a bit too loudly, you start to stir, and you bet your diapered bottom Mama’s hightailing it out of there faster than you can say, “It’s your turn, honey.” Because Mama loves you, baby.

Especially when you are asleep.

So, please for the love of all that is good, stay that way. Just for a little while at least.


Your very tired mom who's doing her absolute best

P.S. I was just kidding on the coffee thing.

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