Bedtime for my son is usually pretty torturous. Not for him-but for me. He fights sleep no matter what we do. Even if he is so tired he can’t sit up to play, even if we do quiet activities leading up to bedtime, like reading or singing or just sitting and talking. He still throws a fit, just long enough to show he’s in control, just long enough to try to frustrate me. Then he starts wiggling like a little squirmy worm, trying to get comfortable in my arms, and then, somehow, he slowly succumbs to slumber, just after one final yawn. His eyelids gently flutter up and down with the rhythm of the rocking chair, getting heavier with every moment, until they stay closed. And as he lays in my arms to rest, my world is finally at peace, for just a few moments. There in a dark bedroom, in a cozy chair, with a precious gift cradled in my arms, I can finally breathe. I reflect on the day, I think about what I need to get done when I leave the room, and then I remind myself to just sit there and breathe and take a few moments just for myself. Sometimes I close my eyes, but usually I can’t close them because I can’t stop staring at the beautiful face, the chunky cheek squished against my breast.

I look at my sleeping son and I see the face of my daughter from 8 years ago. How fast the time has flown. How fast she has changed! She doesn’t fit in my arms anymore, nor would she want me to rock her to sleep anymore. Soon enough, my son will be the same. With that thought, I stay and hold him just a little while longer, feeling how much he’s already grown in just 9 months. His little torso used to only be the length of my arm, but now my arm only reaches to his mid back. His little feet used to dangle from my other elbow, and now his knees rest on the inside of my elbow and his whole leg dangles down. I pat his soft little thighs a few more times and give them a squeeze, and whisper to him: “I Love You little man. You are so beautiful! Good night.” And if he doesn’t wake to my whispers, I stand up, slowly, and gently place him in his crib, and tiptoe out of the room. I know I only have a few hours before I get to see him again. And a lot more work awaits me on the other side of the door.