You are two and a half and I have a confession to make: I still check on you every night before I go to bed and am starting to wonder at what age I will be forced to give this up? 10? 16? 20? 40?
When we first brought you home, I was certainly vigilant as you slept in the bassinet next to our bed. What mother doesn’t periodically place a finger in front of their baby’s mouth or nose to make sure that sweet, warm breath is still evenly escaping their lungs? Well, I did. But I eventually learned to trust. Plus, you’d have me up in a couple of hours for a feeding anyway, so I didn’t have cause to independently check on you too often.
It wasn’t until you gave up that 3am feeding and truly slept through the night that I started sneaking into your room. In a way, I missed our secret rendezvous in the middle of the night. It was our quiet time. My moment to simply rock you and breathe in the scent of your hair. The world was asleep, except for us, and the stillness of the house made our little cocoon a dreamy place as we both struggled to stay awake long enough to finish the feeding.
Now, I tiptoe in every night. I smooth back your hair, adjust your covers, marvel at the sheer size of you in that bed. I often hold your hand or touch your cheek to watch you twitch and move. I like to see the way you roll over in the bed and fall deeper into sleep in a position that looks all too familiar because it’s how I sleep.
It’s purely selfish, this obsession I have to check on you while you sleep. Partly it’s to remind myself of the innate sweetness that is you after a tough day of toddler tussles. But mainly, it’s that when you sleep, you somehow miraculously look just like the baby I first cuddled on my chest moments after entering the world while simultaneously looking like the man I know you will become.
Maybe I’m reading too much into your sleeping face when I sneak in after a long day. Maybe it’s because now that you’ve given up your nap, I see how precious your “still” time is. Maybe it’s because I am still falling more and more in love with you every day.
Whatever the reason is, I’ll see you tonight around 11.