The rocking chair creaks as you settle in. There’s a fan whirring overhead, the sound of your baby as he breathes. Outside, it’s all streetlight and stars on the empty avenue.
It’s 3 a.m. Your ponytailed hair hasn’t been washed for days and your nightgown is stained with milk. You’re exhausted. Not thinking clearly. The clock teases you with its ticking. Time, for now, stands still.
This is the first of one thousand nights you’ll share with your child.
Soon there will be winter colds and midnight fevers. The baby in your arms will soon be three and afraid to sleep in his big boy bed. You’ll tell him a story, give him a kiss, and wait with him till he’s dreaming little boy dreams.
A few years will pass. Your boy, now six, will wet the bed and you’ll sit with him, reassuring, calming, just being there.
There will be other nights, too: of sore throats and nightmares and slumber parties and fears. There will be growing pains and big exams and heartbreak he won’t want to talk about.
And through it all, you’ll still be there, patting his back, calming his fears, listening when he needs it most.
He won’t always be small enough to hold in your arms, but the fan will still whir, the stars will still shine, and the chair will still creak as you settle in.
This is the first of one thousand nights as a mother with her son, and tonight, for the first time, you’ll see him through until morning.
Photo Credit: A. Pagliaricci/Flickr