As I Lay in the Dark With My Baby, Who Will Soon Not Be the Baby Anymore
by Gretchen Bossio
Photograph by Twenty20
It's dark. Very dark. The kind of dark where you can't see anything but you can feel everything. I'm expecting my fourth baby and I should be sleeping, or at least resting, but my bump is alternating between a wild jig and a bout of hiccups, so I'm awake.
My husband and I room share with our toddler and, when I snuck into our bedroom shortly after midnight, I found him snuggled up to his daddy, horizontal in our king-size bed rather than vertical in his toddler bed. Although he's the best sleeper of my three children, he obviously knows that next to a cozy parent is the best place to dream.
I gathered his little 19-month-old body into my arms, carefully positioning him above my giant belly and settled into the rocking chair. Again, I should be resting, but the stillness of the night drew me to his warm frame and there was no way I could deposit him into his own bed. Not yet at least. Not without an extra long snuggle. Just me and my boy.
Soon—too soon—he won't be my baby anymore. These dark nights will become a sanctuary for the new baby and me. This “baby” in my arms will sleep in his toddler bed near my husband's side and I'll tend to our newborn on my side. That's how we've planned to survive the early months.
As I make room in my heart for a new little love I can't help but yearn for more of these nights with my big boy.
My toddler will inevitably grow up with the addition of a new baby. And I will miss him as my youngest. I will miss us how we are right now.
As I make room in my heart for a new little love, I can't help but yearn for more of these nights with my big boy. The one curled up in my lap now—his soft breath mimicking my own while nestled in the crook of my arm. His weight is perfect. His soft skin and tiny features, divine. I've loved him for so long and hate the thought that he might feel slighted as we make room for his little brother.
He won't remember this quiet night where I held him close, kissed his cheeks and prayed that these coming months would transition for us all with ease. But I will. I'll cherish the slow sway of the rocker. I'll recall the whisper of the wind outside our open window. I'll always remember how he and his unborn brother filled my soul and lap, one curled up inside, the other snuggled close on the outside.
If I thought I could survive tomorrow without sleep, I'd stay here forever. Rocking, reminiscing, loving them both with all that I am.
My days are loud and rambunctious and full. I think that's why I so love the night. This calm gives my mind rest. It's a peace only darkness can bring. So, for a few more minutes, I'll rock. I'll close my eyes and feel all the things I cannot see. All the love, all the joy, all the mysteries this new season of motherhood will bring.