Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. I can hear the clock counting down the minutes. It's 3:04 am, and I am awake once again during the early hours of the morning.
Waaaaahhh! There's the sound I've been expecting. The sound of a baby who desperately needs his mommy, or at least he thinks he does. I roll over and nudge my husband. "Can you get him?"
"Huh? Oh yeah." Evan crawls out of bed and plods down the hallway. He used to jump out of bed at the first sign of crying, but not anymore. We both know Rooster is fine. He just wants attention, and we aren't in any hurry to give it to him.
After few seconds the crying stops. I lay awake staring at the ceiling. No doubt Evan has laid my sleepy boy back on his pillow and started to comfort him. I enjoy the few moments of silence, but I don't bother to close my eyes. A minute later the crying returns, only this time it's more frantic and frustrated.
Evan doesn't come back to bed. He's most likely sitting in the hallway waiting for Rooster to get tired of screaming and lay back down. After 10 mins or so, Evan goes back into the nursery and Rooster calms down enough for me to collect my thoughts.
Why are we doing this? What are we doing wrong? What if he never learns to sleep on his own?
It's the same night after night. With tears in my eyes I roll over and pull the covers up over my head. Anything to block out the desperate cries that break my heart into a million pieces. I know my son wants me, and even in the middle of the night all I want to do is comfort him.
Instead, I lay in bed listening to him scream. It may take him 10 mins or 2 hours to finally calm down and go to sleep meanwhile Evan will continue to check on him and reassure him.
I keep telling myself this is for his own good. He has to learn to comfort himself. We have another baby coming, and it's time for Rooster to be the big boy. But just between me and you, he's still my baby.
For almost a year I woke up several times a night to nurse my son. Often he would fall asleep nestled in my arms. Those were precious moments snuggled together under the covers in the dark, coolness of night. Of course, I didn't always want to get up. In fact, there were so many times I complained in my heart because I just wanted to sleep. Now I know how wrong I was. I should have enjoyed those moments, all of them. They were gone too quickly.
Some decisions you make as a parent are cut and dry. TV is bad for babies. Carrots are good. Then there are decisions that leave you wrought with anxiety and fear. Am I really doing with right thing? Is this really the best way? It all seems so clear during the day, but each night brings a fresh set of frustration and doubt.
I know one day, several years from now, I'll look back on this time in our lives and smile to myself. I'll remember worrying too much and praying too little. I'll laugh as I think of all the more difficult decisions we've come to and lived through. This time of difficulty is just a stepping stone, stumbled upon but quickly passed.
But for now I have to be content with the knowledge that the Lord's mercies truly are new every morning. I see them each day in the face of a smiling, happy little boy. No matter how long the night, joy always comes in the morning.
As I roll out of bed, still tired but ready to start the day, I am reminded of what's truly important in life. I know if I never again get an uninterrupted night's sleep this side of heaven, we'll still go on living. We'll still play and snuggle and read the same books over and over. We'll still laugh and sing and love one another more fully than I could have ever imagined.
We'll just have to take a few more naps along with way, and that's okay. I like naps :)