Sleeping through the night is like the Holy Grail of parenthood, but there’s something undeniably awesome about those late-night cuddles.
Whoever coined the term “the pitter patter of little feet” has never heard my kid walk.
That’s the thought that crosses my mind as I’m roused from sleep by the rush of footsteps of my daughter coming down the hall at night. Thud, thud, thud.
It doesn’t happen often now that we have the big girl bed, but occasionally (and especially when she’s overtired), Adelaide makes the long midnight trek from her room, down the night light-lit hallway to ours. “Mama, Mama.” she cries as she stumbles along sleepily. “I want Mama.”
I sit up in bed and flick the light on. By the time I’m fully awake, she’s made it to the edge of our bed, looking rumpled and squinty-eyed from sleep. “Mama,” she exhales, her voice thick with relief.
I know I should take her back to her own bed and sit with her until she falls back to sleep, but I’m weak. I can’t resist pulling her close to me. She still smells like soap from her bath, her skin warm and smooth as she thrusts her chin on top of my shoulder. “Did you have a bad dream?” I whisper to her, not wanting to wake up my husband.
“Uh huh.” she says softly, her hands balled and rubbing her eyes.
I tuck her in. She’s so big now, huge, really, I think as I pull the duvet over her. The tiny baby that used to nap beside me is gone. I can barely remember those fuzzy, tired days as she nestles in next to me. So much of our first year together was about sleeping, those deep afternoon naps curled together while the world went on outside my window. Where did that time go?
It’s amazing how fast she falls back to sleep. I brush the hair from her forehead and kiss her gently on her brow as my husband sleeps on beside us. I wait until her breath slows and her eyes shut completely before I turn out the light again.
She’ll sleep soundly beside me now, cradled in the crook of my arm. I know that in the morning, she’ll pounce on me even before the alarm goes off. But for now, I pull her closer to me, and drift off into a warm, deep sleep.