My favorite part of the day is that magical time before darkness gives way to the dawn. In those early moments, everything is still—except you, little one. You stir and then you stretch and then you reach. Your small, not quite a toddler but no longer an infant hand settles on my arm, and you smile. But some days you cry. Some days you settle into me and say “heeyyyy” as if you were surprised and delighted to see me there, right exactly when and where you needed me.
The world around us begins to be busy. The birds start to chirp outside. The sun is a little brighter, peeking over the horizon. Your dad is getting ready for work. Even the dog and the cat are doing their morning routines. We just watch as the world gets ready.
Sometimes, you tell me all about your plans for the day in words I can’t understand just yet. Some days, you feel a little silly and laugh at the different noises and shapes of shadows as you move about. And then you realize you are too tired to be busy right now.
So you snuggle up closer and close your eyes.
Your dad comes in to say goodbye. You smile at him with your thumb in your mouth and your eyes still half-closed. If you are really awake, you poke your little head up and tell him goodbye. On the days when you are asleep, you get a quick goodbye kiss on the head.
And then it’s quiet again.
We, too, used to be a part of this busyness. We had so many appointments and places to be. We were always anxious, always moving, and always busy. Not anymore.
There are days when I think I should be doing something in those sweet hours before you wake up and take on the day—that the stillness is ripe with opportunities to get things done. Your sweet-smelling head resting peacefully on my arm gives me pause.
I know that is not true.
I know one day you will be older, and our lives will be busy again. I know you won’t always give me slobbery kisses with your mouth wide open like a baby hippo. I know that every second with you is a straight-up miracle.
So I pull you closer and kiss your head. Then I settle in to wait for you to start your day when the light is bright and the early morning stillness gives way to our everyday busyness.