He did not sleep through the night for nine hundred and twenty-nine nights at the beginning of his life. He slept snuggled up to me, sleeping in short bursts of time, nursing in-between, and needing me close for comfort.
And then he no longer needed that.
It sounds endless. Nine hundred and twenty-nine nights.
Between the day he was born and the day of his eighteenth birthday he will sleep six thousand five hundred and seventy five nights. And only nine hundred and twenty of those will have been in my arms.
It felt endless because I was under so much pressure to push him off into his own bed. I think this was part of why he needed so much to be held close.
I wish that instead of being so sad about the sleep that seemed to never come.. I had known to pull him near. To savor the moments.
I can never go back to sniff that baby head of his again as he snuggles up against me in chubby toddler sleep. That stage of our lives is past. I knew, though, to pull his brother near and relish the time as we passed through only six hundred and seventy one nights.
And my nose gets tickled every night now by the fuzzy flyaway hair of my daughter. We’ve snuggled our way through 317 nights. I do not know how many more nights there will be until she crawls away into her own space to fall asleep. The time does not seem endless this third time around. It seems slow and quiet, even as it speeds on past.
I do not push her away because I’ve learned that there is no need to push, and I’ve learned that pushing them away just makes them need more not less. She will want her own space soon enough, and when she does I will smile and be proud of the independence that she has found.
There is nothing more driven than a child that is encouraged to grow at their own pace. Life is huge and exciting and fascinating and full of many good things. I will not push them away faster than they are ready because I know that soon enough I’ll have to run just to keep up.