My legs feel heavy like they are immersed in thick mud and can’t move. My head has that floating feeling that accompanies the land between sleep and awake. As I open my eyes the room is bathed in the soft green light of the cool-mist humidifier at the foot of the bed. Next to me, curled on her side facing me is my daughter. We aren’t touching but she’s close enough to me to feel her breath on my face. Beyond her is the steady breathing of my husband. He is also on his side facing me – like guardian parenthesis standing sentinel around our baby. I can smell the faint scent of lavender from Aellyn’s shampoo.
She twists her head a little and squirms. She lets out a deep sigh. She is still sleeping – I can see the dark crescents of her eyelashes on her cheeks. She needs to nurse. Of course, she’s too asleep to know it herself yet. But I know. Is she hungry? In need of comfort? Did my waking wake her or did I wake *knowing* she was about to need me? Lots of questions – none of them matter to me. She is my baby and it is her job to take and mine to give. I give with joy.
I pull her closer and help her latch on. She does it effortlessly – this is a dance we’ve done before – not even waking as she begins to suckle eagerly. I feel the soft blanket of contentment that always envelopes me when I nurse her. There is an overwhelming sense of oneness and contentment. I smile in the darkness. Her suck is already becoming slower as she drifts into a deeper sleep. I can feel sleep pulling me down too. The whole moment was so brief but so powerful. Precious.
I fall asleep with that smile on my face as my breathing settles in to match the rest of my slumbering family.
This essay, in an abridged form, won the Co-Sleeping Essay Contest hosted by the Great Co-sleeping Survey and will be published in the book Are You Co-sleeping? Me Too! I will link the final version when it goes up on the Co-sleeping Survey site. For a list of fellow winners please see Hobo Mama’s round up post.
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