Monday, June 28, 2010

Tender Sleep

Moments of tenderness cannot be denied when looking at a sleeping child. It began with the baby placed in my arms at the hospital. That one single glimpse of my sleeping daughter turned on something inside of me that captured me and has not let go.

I have so many pictures of my sleeping children. My daughter continually takes pictures of her sleeping children. What is it that draws us into the warmth and overwhelming love surrounding that sleeping cherub? Maybe it is that the child is finally quiet after a long cry or after a long day of getting into mischief. Perhaps it is the only time the child holds still. Or, just maybe, it is that our hearts are captured in those quiet moments with overwhelming love that we don't want to let go of.

How often did I lightly step into the nursery watching one of my babies sleep? Even now it chokes me up to remember. I could not leave without a hand on the downy head and always a kiss.

My daughter fought sleep from the moment she was born and before. However, my son loved to sleep. No matter where we stood at the given moment when we said, "time for bed", his clothing would come off, his blanket grasped in chubby hands and his little legs carrying him to the bed. One moment he could be dashing through the house and in the blink of an eye, asleep wherever he stopped.

My granddaughters are the same. Sydney loves to stay up while Gabby drops off immediately. Some two-way conversations end when I look over to see her sweet sleeping face.

This grandma loves those moments when I can sit on the bed next to the sleeping children and tell them how much I love them, to pass a hand over their warm cheeks then to say a silent prayer asking protection and guidance of their young lives. These moments are fleeting with these children just as they did with those of our own.

I remember sleeping across the front seat on my parents' laps back in the day of no seat belts or laws to protect us. My head rested on Dad's leg as he drove. Had we had an accident, I would have had the head of a squashed pumpkin. Vaguely, I remember Dad carrying me into the house, Mom dressing me down into my pj's and all happening with me in a state of half-sleep. I wonder if they took those moments to look at this sleeping child, to sit by my bed.

It's a hard habit to break this watching a child sleep. Even now, I long to sit by my sleeping adult children praying once more for safety and guidance. Once more to plant a soft kiss upon the brow.

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