These days, after midnight in this house, at least two of us are awake.
Wakeful. Wakeful you are, wakeful you are becoming, and it is simultaneously beautiful and terrifying, exhausting and rewarding, give and take. What a gift to watch your fingers find their corporeal duty, to watch your little spirit flowing into them and giving them life, intention, the ability to stretch and bend the world to your whim. How gut-rending to watch you war with your overtired self, to hear you cry that angry, ugly wail and be unable to give you the rest you need. How equally helpless I am to lead you to your new discoveries or return you to peaceful simplicities you are forgetting.
There is a new kind of weary that sits across the bridge of my nose and tugs at my patience. It’s like always having brain freeze. Sunglasses worn too long. Water in my sinuses.
At 2:17am I will sit you on my knee and beg you, honestly, humbly, “Love, my love, what will we do? What can I do?” and you will break from crying to beam your widest smile, the one with all the world locked in it, and I am yours completely. At 2: 23 I will wonder if your grandparents want to adopt you after all. At 2:45 your head smells a certain way and every cell in my body raises in goose pimples and I try hard not to squish you to pieces with my wanting to snuggle you back inside of me. At 3am I have to put you down and walk away to keep from trying to out scream you. And so we go.
Your little blue eyes are alive now, aware, and hurt, so hurt, when I can’t save you from you waking wakeful self. But they know me now, those eyes, which is better than the best of anything. And all is forgiven the moment you fall, kicking and raging, into perfect tiny baby sleep.
Whereupon I watch you. Then close my eyes for awhile. Then go get a glass of water, pee, dink around on the computer. Wakeful. Apples and trees.
I will pray peace over you, beautiful wakeful girl, and sweet dreams of the innocent and lullabies and love, until you rest. I will wake when you call me, a thousand times, until you are no longer in need of these arms to rock you and my voice to soothe you back to sleep.