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January 10, 2014

There’s something so special, so intimate, perfect and moving about the moment she starts to drift off to sleep. It happens the same way, every night, without fail.

She’s nestled close to me breastfeeding, slurping great gulpfuls of milky down, concentrating so hard. She looks up after a little while and pats the other breast. “This side”, we swap sides and she snuggles in and continues her soothing supper. She might swap sides a few times, each time the suckling getting less and less intense. Often she reaches out and holds onto the nipple she’s just finished with (which is sometimes a little painful but other times has just become part of the whole glorious nursing experience), or holds her hand up flat against the skin between my breasts.

I stand up and turn the dimmed light right out, still holding her close, the only light now from the hall downstairs.

We sit in silence, I watch her, she opens her eyes and then smiles, “sleep now”… and falls into a contented peaceful sleep. I say a little prayer and thank God for my girl, for family, for friends and then I kiss her goodnight and tell her I love her.

Then, very carefully I lie her in her little cot, the one I slept in at her age, and tuck her in. I want to hold on to every detail of these precious moments, absorb every detail of her face, the sweep of her arm, the slight curl on the stray bit of hair. These are the moments nobody tells you about, when they’re busy warning you about sleepless nights, these are the magical times. When time itself almost stands still and it’s hard to believe how incredible my daughter is, how very very blessed and lucky we are.

I sit in the darkness, and listen to her breathing, then I go out feeling calm, so calm and peaceful.

If she wakes in the night, the same thing happens again. Waking up in the deep of the night no longer physically hurts me like it did when she was tiny and I was so heavily asleep, now my night time radar seems to be always on and I know that if she wakes up, then I get to hold her, love her, nurse her and help her back to sleep again. Sometimes late into the night or early in the morning it doesn’t work and some comes into bed with me, she curls up next to me, like a small limpet her arm across mine . Then, knowing I’m close by she will sleep a very deep sleep often  like a starfish forcing me to the edge of the precipice, but again I love it, and I know it won’t last for ever. Soon she’ll be slamming her bedroom door telling me to leave her be and probably refusing a bedtime kiss but for now I cherish these quiet magical times more than I imagined possible.

Did I mention that I love being a mother?



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