The Nap... by Lenore Kilmartin
I've been waiting for this all morning...the moment when you finally rub your eyes, yawn and lay your head on my shoulder. With a sigh of relief, I carry you upstairs already anticipating the feel of our comfy bed with you snuggled close to my body, drifting off to sleep at my breast.
I knew that night-time mothering was a reality but nothing really prepared me for days like today when I struggle to keep my eyes open, my head aching, my legs heavy and slow. Little one, you needed me often last night. Sometimes you nursed and sometimes you wanted to nestle close, to know that you were safely beside me. What was it? Teething, a growth spurt, an awareness of space, a dream? Maybe I'll never really know the answer but I trust that you are asking for what you need. When you reach for me, I am there. Morning comes too quickly and you wake ready to begin your day while I count down the hours until we can sleep again.
There is so much I need to do today, yet I can barely manage to do more than sip lukewarm coffee and watch you as you crawl around exploring our untidy house. I'm longing for sleep, knowing that I have to wait until you cue that it is time for a nap. In the meantime, you rifle through the pots and pans drawer, empty your snack onto the floor and giggle as the dog helps himself, pull books of the shelf and scatter the contents of my purse around the room.
But this is normal. This is how it is for mothers and babies. Some days are tired days. And some nights are wakeful nights. That's why we nap together, you and I. It's our chance to rest and recuperate. As long as I stay close to you, you sleep deeply and I sleep deeply too. We move to a shared rhythm as sleep overcomes us. Intermingled breath, bodies touching, eyes fluttering closed.
I wake before you, refreshed and comfy. I keep still, not wanting to disturb you, drinking in your sweet presence. Your eyelashes feathery and long, the dimple in your chin, your chubby wrist tucked against my arm. I see a little bit of me...my nose, my forehead...my curly hair. I feel such overwhelming love for you, my dearest baby, and a touch of guilt as I remember how much I wanted you to fall asleep so that I too could rest.
I am so grateful...
that I have had a nap
that you sleep so peacefully beside me
that this morning is behind us and the afternoon awaits.
I am so grateful...
that I am your mother.