Tonight, as I laid next to Willow in our bed, our foreheads touching and our breath in perfect harmony, I thought about how many times I’ve watched her fall to sleep. How many times I saw her drift off into dreamland, safely, securely and knowing that I was nearby should she need me.
That is how many times I nursed her to sleep.
That is how many times I carefully and with perfect precision laid her down from my arms to our bed.
That is how many times I rubbed her back, played with her hair and caressed her cheek.
You see, Willow doesn’t know what it means to fall asleep alone. She has never had to do it. We’ve always been there to support her to sleep. To kiss her to sleep. To sing her to sleep. And although it’s made the journey thus far more challenging in some ways, it’s also made the experience wonderful.
I (and/or Steve) am the last face she sees before she goes to sleep and I (and/or Steve) am the first face she sees when she wakes up. She’s become familiar with our process, our routine and she knows what to expect.
She is an extension of me and that doesn’t stop at night.
That is how many times daddy has given her her bath, put on her jammies and handed her over to me.
That is how many times she’s looked up at me from a facial profile that only I know as well as I do.
That is how many times my heart has caught in my throat.
Our bedtime routine was one that I grasped onto from the very beginning. It was our time. Time for us to reconnect after a long and busy day. Time for us to play and read, cuddle with each other and, as she got older, time for her to tell me that she loves me. It still is all of that. It is still our time.
Throughout the last two years, I’ve not held this ideal in my head. I’ve complained about her sleeping habits and I’ve wished that she was like all of those “other kids” who magically sleep through the night and who to go to sleep after popping them in their crib. At the end of the day though, if I had all of that I wouldn’t have what I do have. I wouldn’t have 1,915 moments with her in the way that I’ve had them.
So, if you struggle with a child who doesn’t sleep the greatest and you’re exhausted and wishing that your child were different, turn your perspective just a little and you’ll see 1,915 moments that have shaped your relationship today.