I had only been asleep for an hour and a half when I woke up to the sound of Brayden cooing. It was 1:00 in the morning, and I was tired. Exhausted actually. I guess six months of interrupted sleep will do that to you. Not that I am complaining. I know better than to complain because I am reminded every day (and in the middle of every night) that every sacrifice of sleep is worth it. This night turned out to be the perfect example…
As I listened to Brayden’s soft babbles, I could tell that he wasn’t unhappy. He was just telling me politely that he was awake. I quietly made my way out of bed and to his room. When I peeked over the side of his crib, he rolled from his belly to his back as if he knew I would be there at that very instant. His eyes gave away the smile that was hiding underneath his pacifier. He pulled his blanket up to his cheek and smiled wider, I imagine because he noticed me smiling back.
To sleep or to cuddle? I looked at the clock, knowing that I was doing so in vain. Cuddling always wins…
I lifted him up so that we were facing each other and we made our way to the couch. When we sat down, he pushed himself off my chest to look at me. Eyes sparkling, he grinned widely. He makes new faces on an almost daily basis so I wasn't surprised that this one was different from the other variations of 'happy' that he's made before. But I recognized something familiar about his expression. The scrunch of his cheeks, the smile in his eyes... That's when I placed it. He was looking at me in the way I look at him, adoringly.
It is a really incredible concept to grasp. I am adored… by my baby… my son.
When Brayden was born, I wasn’t surprised when my heart grew to accommodate the overflow of love that was held there. I expected that becoming a parent would have this effect. I was prepared for what it would be like to feel love for my baby. What I wasn’t prepared for is what it would be like to feel loved by him. I was ready for the give, but hadn’t considered the take. And, thinking about it now, the two really account for an inseparable and beautiful duality. As much as I love this precious little person, this precious little person loves me. And Brayden is at an age where he can actually show it which makes this whole parenting thing all the more fulfilling.
With one plump, knuckle-less hand, he touched my cheek…. then my lips… then my chin. When he reached my nose he gave a little laugh. Then I put my forehead to his. I don’t know why or when it started, but this has become our little sign of affection. There are Eskimo kisses and butterfly kisses and then there are these…. Brayden kisses. Forehead to forehead, nose to nose. He sighed happily.
Nearly in tears after sharing this moment with my baby boy, I hugged him tight. I love you, little guy, I whispered. He smiled contently before nestling his face into my neck. Maybe I was delusional from being overtired, or maybe I was dreaming the whole thing up, but I swear this was his way of saying I love you too, mom.
I held him until he was asleep. And then I held him a little longer. Forget what the baby books say. Sure, B was supposed to be sleeping. And, yes, I was probably enforcing some bad habit by taking him out of the crib and letting him sit with me. None of that matters. I will happily trade six months more of sleep for moments like these.