This afternoon my sweet baby love needed a nap, and I decided to go with what we’ve dubbed a “cuddle nap”. We both strip down to our bare necessities, snuggle up under the covers skin to skin, and fall asleep together side lying nursing. From the time my baby love was a newborn this was the only reliable way to get her a nap, and it had the added benefit of getting me a nap, too. It never failed that when we snuggled up she’d be out before long. As my baby has gotten older it’s begun to get more difficult to get her to sleep in a cuddle nap, but with some work I’m almost always able to. I felt a little guilty for the “crutch”, but mostly I just loved my sweet, warm baby snuggles. There is something amazingly close about sleeping together. This is, quite possibly, my most beloved way to spend time with my daughter and my most cherished memory of her thus far in her short life.
So today when she needed a nap and I was exhausted, I stripped her down and climbed into bed with her. She nursed and kicked her legs, pushing herself upwards while I held her in place. I’ve learned that if I try to relax and keep my eyes closed it helps her fall asleep now that she’s more resistant.
I lay there, eyes closed, willing my little love’s movements to slow so we could drift off together. And, as she nursed, they did.
Until they didn’t.
Her belly hit full before she was drifting off, and suddenly she was awake.
The kicking and squirming ramped up tenfold.
I lay there trying to keep my eyes closed and my limbs relaxed while holding her more or less in place and checking where she’d squirmed. I was unhappy. I had been looking forward to this nap, both because I was exhausted and because I cherished these times.
She was in a purely happy state only babies can be in when all their needs have been met and they are safe and loved.
As I opened my eyes to peek at her, she looked up at me and our eyes met.
And she broke out in the biggest toothless grin.
The smile lit up her whole face. Pure joy suffused her expression.
I was ready to be irritated she wouldn’t sleep. I wanted the moment I had envisioned, us cuddle napping together. But staring at the joy in her face I released the moment I wanted.
And instead I embraced the moment I had.
Snuggled up with my joyful baby, skin to skin, as she loved life to the fullest.
It was just as beautiful, just as meaningful, as the moment I’d been seeking. And I almost missed it, irritated it wasn’t the moment I had planned.
May I always embrace the moment I have, even if it isn’t the moment I was looking for.