The nights were the hardest in the beginning. They were long and lonely, just me and you together while the rest of the world slept. Looking back now, just 12 weeks in, I realize that the combination of hormones, the overwhelming fatigue and this surging, almost painful love that I had for you was simply too much for my body and my brain to process so early into our life together. So I cried at nights with you in my arms. I cried and you cried. We were figuring it all out together and man-oh-man was it ever hard.
Recently, just in the last two weeks or so, nights have become much, much better. You are sleeping 6 or 7 hour stretches and it's just amazing to me that in such a short time you are already learning the cycles of day and night. There is nothing more satisfying for me than wrapping you tightly after your last feeding at night and settling you, sound asleep, into your little crib beside my bed. I like to sit and watch you for a few minutes. Your cheeks flushed from eating, your tiny chest as it rises and falls. You are never more beautiful than when you are asleep, so peaceful so serene.
It fills my heart with pleasure to see you sleep so soundly because I know that when you sleep like this it means that you are full, but not too full, with the nutrients that I can provide you with my body. I know that we have had a busy and active day, just the right amount of play and fresh air, enough to leave you sleepy but not so much that you are overstimulated and wound up. Your tiny sighs and moans are like a symphony and I wonder what goes on in your dreams. I hope that you are happily imagining the fun that we will have all over again tomorrow. When I go to sleep with you beside me in your crib, your breathing is the best lullaby. Better than the sound of the waves at the cottage or a distant thunderstorm.
These days, when your little tummy wakes you, it is early morning, usually around 5 or 6am. This was a time of day that I didn't even like to speak of before you arrived. But now I've grown to love it, to look forward to our early morning time together, you nestled warm and sleepy against my chest, me comfy in our chair dozing a little while I stare at your perfect little profile. When you are done eating and you sleep again, curled up on my shoulder your face nuzzling my neck, it's as if we are the only two people in the world. And these days sometimes I cry again, but it's so different now. These days I cry because I know that these beautiful moments together are fleeting and soon you will not need me in this way. I know that you will always need me in some way, that we will always need each other, but sometimes I want to freeze those perfect morning moments and stay there, cuddled and in sync forever.
When I settle you back into your crib after our early morning feeding, I'm already filled with anticipation for the next time you will wake up. These days every morning is like Christmas. You wake me with your coos and grunts and I can already tell that you are smiling. I lift you out of your crib and into bed with me, unwrapping you from your snug swaddle and excitedly wondering what gifts will be in store for us today. Your big stretch as I unswaddle you is better than anything that Santa could bring.
You are so happy in the mornings; well rested and full of energy for another day. Lying next to you and lazily playing together while we both slowly wake up is a luxury that will not last long. One day not too far away mornings will go back to being rushed and chaotic as we all try to get ready for work and daycare and weekend chores and events. But for now I feed on every moment, I absorb every smile and every yawn. I'm not taking a single second for granted.
The kind of love that I'm feeling for you, it's nothing like I thought that love could be. It's whole hearted, it's physical, at times it almost hurts because my heart is so full, so bursting, I fear that it might explode. Not unlike the way my belly felt when you were growing inside me, everyday I thought I could not stretch one more millimeter, yet everyday I did it. And now my heart continues to stretch and grow the same way. Everyday I think that it can not get any bigger, any fuller, and yet still it grows.
It's not long ago that I wrote a very different post about our nights together, and I still stick by every word I wrote then. Being your mother is not easy, it never will be, and they really do need to invent new words to adequately describe what parenthood is like. Our language is simply not enough. They do need another word for tired and sleep and hard. But my sweet baby girl, more than any of those words? They need to invent another word for love.
I "love" you.