Yesterday, I held and rocked my girl in the dark for close to an hour. She had a very restless (and sleepless) nap of about 30-40 minutes. So after 5 minutes of "hold you daddy.. hold you mama minute.. hold you mama" once she woke up, I went in there and scooped her up and rocked her so that she could get some rest.
It took me right back to a year ago. More than that, even.
She wasn't a good sleeper in the beginning. Seemed to boycott it daily. We eventually figured out that she cried each night because her tummy hurt :( I still have quite a bit of mommy guilt about that. But even after cutting out dairy to remedy the gas, that didn't really fix the 30 minute/5 times per day catnap "schedule" we were on. It was exhausting. Physically and mentally. And time after time, I would go in there when she had awakened to hold and rock her in the dark, trying to extend that nap just a little bit. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.
Yesterday, it did. And I just breathed her in.
She's still so tiny, that girl of mine. Her little body scrunches and molds to fit in my arms, just like it has this whole time. Her head still nestles into the right side of my neck. Always the right side. She still gets a little sweaty from our body heat, but wants a blanket to cover her, just like her mama. When she stirs, she often mumbles something in her sleep. Usually it's about her Daddy, and always, it makes my heart ache.
There is arguably nothing sweeter than holding a sleeping babe.
I don't want to forget these sweet, stolen moments and I definitely don't want to waste them. Now that she's older and typically a champion sleeper, I battle with whether or not to hold and rock her for very long before bedtime. My mind says no, keep it short... we don't want her to start to rely on us more to go to sleep and start the middle of the night wakings again. But sometimes my heart and my arms just long to hold her a while longer. To squeeze her to my chest and kiss her soft, chubby cheeks and face over and over and over. And to whisper in the dark how she'll never know just how much I love her.