Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Good Nights Sleep

"MAMA!  CAN YOU COME CUDDLE ME?"

I stumble blindly through the dark room, down the hall, banging toes and elbows into various obstructions that magically appear in my path come night.

I fall into the twin bed shoved perilously close to the top bunk, somewhere between cracks and blankets, bodies find my warmth and cling.  They cuddle in, put their faces on my face, their heads on my shoulder.  My arm will fall asleep.  My back will ache.  I will be elbowed or kicked.  I will wake at one point to drag myself back to the comfort of my own bed.  Where I will snuggle in to the warmth of my husband.  Until once more my dreams are broken by, "MOM!"

We will repeat variations of this scenario through the night and for all the nights going forward until we don't.  I won't notice it ending.  I may mention that I slept all night without my kids waking me.  Without a little body tumbling in to my bed, to squeeze between my husband and me.  I'll tell someone how great I feel getting a full nights rest.  I'll brag about how big my kids are now that they don't need me as often.  They're getting so big, I feel so relaxed, how grateful I am for sleep.  The monsters will have become less real, the need for my protection will wan.   It will be so subtle.  I won't notice what I'm missing.  I'll realize how good it feels to get a little of my freedom back.

I won't notice until they're grown and I will wonder where all of the time went.  How could it have passed so fast.  It's hard to treasure the pain that comes with the joyful innocence.  The loss, of being 100% depended on, to no longer being needed.

When you give birth, you lose who you were, in one huge, sweeping, cataclysmic birthing of another life.  There is blood and agony, flowers, tears, joy, and then the shocking emptying of all you knew before.  Then so very, very, very slowly you get yourself back.  It comes in waves, in milestones, in teetering steps, in whole nights of sleep.  Each bit of yourself, of your former freedoms, is like an old friend.  The sacrifice, is watching the life you birthed become fully capable.  It is a beautiful heartbreak.

There are times when little arms cling to me, when eyes close in sleep on rosy cheeks, when I whisper a hopeful prayer, to never forget, never let go of these moments.  That the timeless scatterings of memories will hold close and bury themselves in my heart, for always.

Because one day, I won't be called to cuddle.  And I will weep for the times I hold, right now, in my hand.

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