Her hand lay across her belly, the sensation so strange. Like an over inflated basketball, the hardness was not what she expected, nor was the butterfly-like fluttering coming from inside. The amount of wonder within her about so many things was immeasurable. Question piled upon question, building a wall seemingly insurmountable. What was being a mother going to be like? How would she measure up as a mother? What was labor going to be like? So many questions, and yet there was less and less time. Tick-tock, tick-tock. Of one thing only was sure. She loved this little creature inside of her more than she could’ve imagined, and she was a little sad at the impending separation. Much of the unexpected was yet to come.
Diamonds. One of the hardest elements found on Earth. A striking similarity to what being a new mom was like. Bright and shining, yet only able to reach this state from a long pressurized journey. From the very first night with the attempts to breastfeed, difficulty upon difficulty arose. Latching problems, sleeping problems. Those difficulties continued with our homecoming.
Some things happened so easily, like loving you, but getting you to sleep anywhere other than in my arms or attached to my nipple were the greatest feats I have ever attempted to accomplish. The moment our bodies broke contact, you awoke with a start, and began to cry until you felt the safety of that contact once more. Sleepless nights spent walking the small apartment floor, rocking together, or bouncing and singing this song, which represented you more than I’d ever realized, were the only tools in my arsenal.
And this went on for years, beyond the breast feeding to the bottle feeds, to no night time feeds, to simply getting you to go to bed without me putting you soundly to sleep. Nap times, night times, were such a struggle, and yet I fought hard because I knew you so desperately needed the rest. I too needed the rest. Even when returning to work, nights were interrupted many times for one reason or another. Full blown battles were waged, and both sides left exhausted by the onslaught.
You’re now close to three and half years old. The nighttime battles do not wage as they once did, and I am that traveler in the dark. Each night our bedtime ritual always ends with me humming this tune, your long legs dangling, head nestled still perfectly on my shoulder. This tune, which I would hum or sing endlessly in hopes that it would lull you to sleep, is still a special to us both, and for that I am thankful.
And when the day comes that we no longer share this moment, I will be lost, without a clue as to where to go.
The sun rises and sets. Each day you grow bigger, wiser, and more independent, but like that little star, you will twinkle in my night sky all the days of my life.