These are the early days. The nights when the baby fusses and you awaken every half-hour, bleary-eyed and exhausted. When you’re no longer able to string cognizant sentences together and your nightshirt smells like spit-up and baby lotion.
You’re tired. Oh-so tired.
If you could wish these nights away, you would. It’s exhausting and mind-numbing, this endless cycle of sleeping, eating and changing.
And yet, you find yourself inexplicably passing up moments of sleep to stop and marvel at this new child in your arms. You kiss the top of his downy head and soak in the syrupy smell of milk and baby. You watch her sleep with wonder.
The little one’s breath comes soft and quick after months spent immersed within. The squeaks and gurgles, murmurs and bubbles from within the bassinet make for a noisy roommate. But when they quiet, you peek your face over the edge of her bed. Your hand hovers over her chest, feeling the gentle rise and fall of new life. For now, life slows.
Yes, these weeks and months are draining. But through these longest of nights, we hear the never-ending whispers of a mother’s love.
That whisper is found in the air that smells of clean diapers and baby wipes, in the hands that are continually being washed free of sticky diaper cream and stubborn germs.
These are the nights of endless snuggles and kisses. They’re the massaging of stubborn gas bubbles and the quiet sighs of relief that follow milky burps.
It’s the washing and re-washing of milk-stained shirts and blankets. The re-tucking of animal patterned quilts and the little hands that rest peacefully against it. Of soft lashes that flutter against rosy cheeks and little bodies lovingly embraced by warm, footie pajamas.
These are the nights of milk warming in the sink and of sterilized bottles. It’s the refusal to give in to latch issues and clogged ducts, or the formula that’s mixed through sleep-hooded eyes.
And it’s found in the little one who cries. The one you hold close and sing back to sleep. You pat her diaper-clad bottom and tenderly rub her back. The weight of your hopes and dreams are nestled within your arms and you smile through the pure exhaustion.
Because this is your night song. This is a gift you give.
These actions are the sweet murmurings of something more. These nights are more than the lingering exhaustion left behind.
They’re tales of love.
And that makes the sleepless nights all worth it.