While They Were Sleeping

February 2019

by rebecca stewart

Confession: Since the day we brought our girl home from the hospital (and here we are 12 years later), I have loved watching her sleep. Granted, in those early days it was equal parts worry and smitten-kitten. I know I’m not alone in this. Because no matter their age, no matter how much they might be firmly ensconced in eye-rolling and fluctuating emotions, in sleep they are, still, simply your baby. Isn’t it incredible, though, the magical qualities of sneaking a peek at your slumbering babe? Every frustration, every grumpy moment, all of the everything of that day is wiped away.

Taking it back to the early years when she was just a peanut, and on the days when it seemed bedtime couldn’t possibly come quickly enough, or we thought she was never going to stay down, it wasn’t long after she was officially tucked in that the inevitable happened. You know what I’m talking about…I weirdly missed her. Just, for the love, don’t wake her up. Right? Once you make it through those stages where it’s a total crapshoot if they’ll sleep through the night, it’s kind of fun when they semi emerge from dreamland. Disoriented conversations, weird yet spectacular sleep sounds, maybe some random hugs…Priceless.

My favorite part of the day is still going in for that one last check before I go to bed. I still love the sounds of her sleep. Parenting is kind of crazy, no? There are the highs and the lows, the days where you feel like you’re killing it, and lots of others where you absolutely are not. How great is it that these kinds of moments get to be built into those days, and as they’re drifting through dreamland, we know we get another shot tomorrow? We get this daily reset that reminds us that underneath it all, that’s still your baby.

As author Jen Hatmaker said in an August 2015 Facebook post:

Moms of littles, I know you watch your sleeping kids often and think about how tiny and lovely they are. I remember doing that.

I am here to tell you that you will find ways to watch them when they are enormous teenagers that fall asleep on your couch too, and they will still seem so impossibly precious and beloved. You will still choke up and wonder how they have "gotten so big" and you will reach out and stroke their hair and kiss their cheeks and marvel at motherhood all over again. While they sleep.

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s February 2019 issue. 
Check out the digital edition, here
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