Do you want to know my secret, little one? It’s one I’ve had since the day you were born and one I’ve kept to myself until now. Every night of your life, I have snuck into your room while you rest in sweet deep slumber, and I kiss you goodnight. I creep in quietly, stepping over the Legos, the dolls, the dress up clothes and dinosaurs, all signs of a day well spent and well-played, to your bedside. Each night, I gaze down at you for just a few moments too long at your precious face in complete peace. Those long moments of studying your face, one that I know as well as the back of my own hands, if you were awake would catch your attention, stopping you from what you are doing and question why I’m looking at you so. I steal glances at you in moments throughout each day but it’s in these quiet twilight hours when I can let my eyes linger and study your face that I make a memory of you every night. I capture your ever-changing face, wishing each and every night that it might stay just as it is for just a moment longer. My heart breaks a little when I realize that while it might not seem all that different from last night’s memory, I know just how different it is from my memory six weeks ago, six months ago, six years ago.
From The Very First Year
This night time ritual, these sacred memories, started when you were just born. In the still hours when the house is quiet and the streets outside are dark and lonely – these are the hours that belonged to just the two of us in that first year. You’d cry in the night, I’d stumble from bed, offering you the milk I knew would pull you back to sleep. I’d rock you back and forth, staring down at the baby that would nod off in my arms, smelling your hair, kissing those cheeks. That was the time where I would study your every feature, how your eyelashes fell against your cheek, how your smooth soft skin felt like velveteen under my touch, how your perfect little lips lay. In those quiet, sacred moments, I could listen to the rhythm of your breath, see your chest rise and fall, feel your heart beat against my skin. I knew these moments were mine, all mine, and I cherished them, storing each one away. And so began my ritual.
As you grew and your need for me in the night diminished only to an occasional bad dream, for a back rub, or to be tucked in to fall back to sleep on your own, I found myself often longing for that time just you and me when I could hold you close and look down at my little love. We still have our bedtime routine of books, prayers, songs, snuggles. I leave you to drift off with the sandman and I finish the chores of the day – laundry, dishes, squeezing in a little work before my own eyelids begin to get heavy. But then, just before I crawl into bed, it’s like my heart calls out – just one last glimpse, just one last kiss on your cheek.
There are nights when my heart needs this precious time. It’s my time to look back on my day….our day….realizing some nights that it was a good day, a keeper, one for the memory books. But there are those nights when this time alone while you sleep is my time to recover from my missteps. On those nights, I know I didn’t live up to being the mom I set out to be that morning. I whisper to you my apologies. Through tears running down my cheeks, I tell you as you sleep how I tried but I messed up. Tomorrow, I will try harder, do better, be more for you.
I hope that in that slumbering subconsciousness, you hear my pleas and know how much my heart both bursts and breaks every day for you. Other nights, I whisper my hopes and dreams for you. I whisper my prayers and always, yes always, I whisper how I love you, hoping that somehow, just even an ounce of the love I have for you floats into your ears and fills your dreams. I hope those words fill you up one last time as you pass through the night from one day into the next knowing how loved you are.
One day in the not too distant future, you won’t be under my roof. You’ll be off making a life of your own, growing into the adult that I know will make me proud and stealing kisses in the night from your own sweet babes.
These Days Are Numbered
Did you know it my love? That’s the time when I climb the stairs, peek around your door, see the rhythmic rise and fall of your chest, knowing you are well fast asleep, and into your room I tiptoe. I bend down to give my baby one last kiss. My baby, not so much a baby anymore, no longer the need for a special stuffie at night. In its place, and often still in your hand, are books that you’ve grown to love, marking their clear sign that you read yourself to sleep once again. My hand reaches down to softly brush the hair from your eyes, my hand brushes your cheek, still child-soft but growing more and more into the face you’ll be when you are big enough to match my height and look me eye to eye. I bend down and kiss that sweet face, one more smell of your hair before the day is done. I pause, watching how your eyelashes fall against your cheek, how your smooth soft skin still soft under my touch, how your perfect lips lay. I listen to the rhythm of your breath, see your chest rise and fall, and imagine I can feel your heart beat against my skin.
I know these nights are numbered. One day in the not too distant future, you won’t be under my roof. You’ll be off making a life of your own, growing into the adult that I know will make me proud and stealing kisses in the night from your own sweet babes. But until that time, I know my head won’t hit the pillow without that last kiss of the day
Brooke Meabon is the Director of Sales for City Moms Blog Network and is the co-founder of Alamo City Moms Blog in San Antonio, Texas. Brooke balances life as work from home mom, wife, and community enthusiast who has a hard time sitting still. She loves any and all things about the city of San Antonio and you’ll often find her out and about around town dragging her husband and kids along. Brooke is a runner, a foodie, a volunteer, a self-confessed sufferer of FOMO, and loves throwing a good party!