I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night. Like I actually can’t remember. I know that it has been well over a year. That’s over 365 days I have been startled from my peaceful slumber, either from the discomforts of pregnancy or to the cries of an infant.
So many, many nights I have been up in the darkness, answering your frantic calls and coming to your assistance. These are the moments when the world outside is sleeping and still, except for us in that darkened room.
Your cries subside as I rock you in my arms, hush you gently so as to not wake your sister, and feed you until you slip back into a world of sweet baby dreams. Sometimes I am so tired I can barely lift my eyelids and the pain of having to function when exhaustion is present is overwhelming.
These are the times when I feel motherhood requires all that I have and then some. There are times I feel the frustration mounting, “What, are you awake ALREADY? Surely you can’t be needing a feed AGAIN?” Sometimes, it is my poor husband who is on the receiving end of my outburst of emotion, as if somehow it is his fault that this tiny creature has stirred. It is not his fault, merely the fact that we are both there but I am the one physically equipped to deal with this. These are the moments that can seem challenging, where I can really relate to the saying, “The nights are long but the years are short.”
Yet there is something in these moments that is so sweet. And, as my baby and I sit together in the nursing chair, I sometimes begin to mourn already for the time when this will be over. Somewhere inside, I am already nostalgic for this time, because I know it will soon be over.
One day, very soon, you will no longer wake for me in the night. The early hours will come and go, and you will sleep through and no longer need me to sing you a lullaby or fill your little tummy or rock you gently back to sleep. Those nights will be gone and I know I will look back and long for them.
I know I will weep for the days where I could hold your entire body in my hands and we would fit together perfectly on the rocking chair. Where I would feed you and stroke your little head and you would be comforted knowing that you were in your mama’s arms. I know that all too soon, you will be grown up, walking and running and fending for yourself. And one day, you will no longer need me.
That is why I will be thankful for this time. That is why I will rock you, my baby, while you are here in my arms. That is why I can make it through these wakeful, weary nights, because I know I will miss them when they’re gone. I know that in the exhaustion, God is giving me the strength I need to get through. That He chose me to be your mama and with that privilege comes much responsibility. Motherhood requires all that I have, and then some, but I am up for the challenge.