I couldn't sleep last night. I was lying awake around 2:00 a.m. when my baby started crying. He's not a baby any more, but I still see him that way. I'd better procreate again soon or my son will be doomed to a mother who stunts his development.
He sounded sick.
Now, normally when James wakes up in the middle of the night calling me, I wake up grumpy. I find sleep to be an elusive companion, and I resent anything that interrupts our time together. I usually lay there for a minute or two, listening to my son cry, giving him a moment to see if he'll just go back to sleep.
This was not one of those times. I could tell he wasn't just having a momentary waking, but needed comfort. Then I surprised myself. Rather than feeling resentful at my loss of sleep, I realized that I actually wanted to go into the nursery and hold my boy. Perhaps it was because I was already awake, and thus sleep loss would be less of a burden. Perhaps it was because my husband is out of town and my bed was feeling awfully large and lonely. Regardless of why, I craved to feel the weight of James' limp body in my arms.
I went in and performed the tortuous nasal syringe ritual and then cuddled him close. He just melted into my arms and it was as though he really was a baby again, wanting nothing more than to be close to his mother. His hair smelled good. His fingers clasped mine. His head lay heavy in the crook of my elbow. His chest rose and fell against mine as his breathing became deep and regular.
I whispered to him "I love you, James."
A pause. Then a tiny "Too" muttered from behind his binky.
These are the moments that make it all worthwhile. These are the moments I must cherish now while they are still abundant.