These things we do

It is 2 a.m., and Jude is awake, again.

I last saw his sweet, newborn face just an hour and a half ago. I am exhausted, depleted, running on empty after a day of what feels like futile, state mandated standardized testing for Phineas and John Mark, four loads of laundry, an emotional outburst from a teenager and a not-quite-as-dramatic meltdown by my soft-hearted, perfectionist four year-old. All this mixed in with nursing the baby, and nearly three weeks of unpredictable sleep.

I want to stay in my bed, hide my face in my sleeping husband’s back, and find my way to a deep, restorative slumber.

But I hear my baby stirring, chewing his fist, working his way to alertness rather than back to sleep. My own rest will have to wait. I lift my precious boy from the bassinet beside my bed, feeling him wiggle eagerly as his soft baby head find the crook of my elbow. He lets me talk to him quietly, smoothing my lips over his cheeks, before he has had enough and voices his complaint. I need food, not cuddling! his cry reminds me.

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Later, as I rub his back with his head over my shoulder, as I change his diaper in the near dark, I realize that my bone-weary tiredness has faded. I am simply in the moment, doing this beautiful, simple thing I have been blessed to do hundreds of times. I am savoring the tiny moment, knowing that it will be gone before I know it, and Jude will be 2, or 6, or 18. Friends whose babies have made them grandparents assure me of what I already know: I will miss these days. No matter how many times I do it, I will miss this.

So I do my best to take captive every thought, to embrace these night time soliloquys. Today, this is the thing I do. Tomorrow, it will be gone.

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