Tonight he fell asleep by himself.
I remember days that feel like forever ago and yesterday all at once, when I spent every evening trapped beneath a small demanding body who only found comfort in his mother's arms. I prayed hard and steady those nights that I wouldn't fall asleep with him so I could get up and do something, anything other than rock, snuggle, rock. Rock, snuggle, rock. Sleep. Most nights, I would fall asleep and wake in the middle of the night, cranky that I'd wasted whatever free time I could have enjoyed.
He's five and a half now, and I don't have any idea where all those long nights went; I just know that they've all rolled into short years where his pants just have kept getting shorter and shorter even though they've stayed the same size.
He grows, my first baby, and I grow, and we grow
and I like who we're all becoming
but part of my heart twinges for the baby I once held.
Before I left the room tonight, I laid next to him as he prayed, snuggled beneath his warm arm draped over my stomach, waited for him to cue me for my turn to pray. And when I prayed tonight, I prayed thanksgiving for the blessings ... and silently I pleaded for the time to linger long in these moments where I was still snuggling an ever-growing boy.
When his breathing slowed into sleep breaths, his little brother also fast asleep on my other side, I began to unbind myself from blankets. But he he stirred and asked where I was going.
I said I was going to read my Bible and pray.
"Will you be back in a little bit?"
Absolutely, I promised.
Five minutes later my promised lured me back to that oldest boy of mine, and I thought if he wanted me with him right then that I would be there, so I creeped back into his room ... and found him fast asleep.
I placed my lips on his forehead for a kiss and he mumbled, "I'm OK, mom; you can go and pray and read your Bible."
I whispered my love to him.
"I love you, too, mom."
And I can't help but to think how the desperate prayers I uttered all those nights I spent pleading that I would get something more done than rock, snuggle, rock, sleep have been answered.
On those nights, I didn't just lay down with my boy and fall asleep. No. On those nights, I laid down foundations of love.