This morning I awoke before dawn to my dog yelping in her sleep. Sometimes she gets excited in her dreams. Inevitably, however, my nearly 9 month old daughter awoke as well. “Mamama” she called as she rustled in her crib. I slid out of bed and walked the 3 feet to her crib. I picked her up, gently bounced and rocked her. She made playful airy noises through her lips, flipped her head back and forth trying to find the right position on my shoulder, looked up at me, then started to settle back into rest.
I returned her to her crib.
Immediately she rolled around. “Mama” she called out again. I picked her up, told her it was “sleepy time” and this time offered to nurse. She gladly latched on as we made our way to bed. She tried to convince me it was time to rise and make sweet googly eyes at each other. I again encouraged “sleepy time” as I closed my eyes and eventually she dozed off again, unlatched and started to flail in a way that indicates “give me some space.”
Once again I returned her to her crib. Once again she flipped over to her tummy, inch wormed forward to the edge of her crib, pulled up to stand and called out: “Muuuuuu.”
Again I slid out of bed, picked up my precious baby girl and began to snuggle and swing her. Her eyes closed, her body went sleepily soft, and as far as she was concerned, all was right in the world again.
One could say “that baby has got you wrapped around her fingers” and to some extent that is true. But usually she does sleep well on her own. And on the sweet occasion when she just wants to be held, I turn to gratitude: for a child who trusts me, for someone who feels safe in my arms, and a loved one who requests a warm embrace. In the grand scheme, these tender moments of closeness are rare.
I embrace the closeness and just smile.