The baby woke this morning very early and it was as if she could hear the birds chirping over the rush of her humidifier, as they called her to start the day. She pointed to the window, light starting to come through the blinds, and said her favorite hushed phrase of “what’s that?” As sweet as she is, I simply wasn’t ready to start the day, but I knew my efforts to get her back to sleep would be futile. Smiling and giving her chubby cheek a kiss, I walked out of her darkened room, creeping past the opened door to my bedroom.
My son was sound asleep in our bed because he had come into our room in the middle of the night, relegating my husband to the sofa. We allow this to happen when he occasionally comes in because, as the days rush by, dawns like these turning to dusk, we know that soon, he won’t crawl in with us at all. On these nights, few and far between, I simply try to savor his closeness and watch him sleep, being lulled to sleep myself by his breathing.
Leaving him asleep in our bed, I took the baby downstairs to make a cup of coffee. My husband, an early riser, always leaves for work early, so it was just the two of us. My daughter continued to point to the window, excited by a new day. Prompted by her wonder for the dawn and the birds, I put my exhaustion to the side and took her to the front porch to observe the world.
Morning had broken and it was beautiful. While I’m often awake late at night and in the middle of the night with this baby of mine who doesn’t sleep, I couldn’t remember the last time I had witnessed this early of a morning, outside, watching the earth spring to life. We took our spot on the front steps of our porch, and my daughter sat in my lap, gasping as each leaf danced in the breeze. Her big, round, blue eyes--the bluest eyes I’ve ever known--looked up at me in awe. Her strawberry blonde hair glistened and came alive, as the wind tousled her curls and the sun cast its perfect rays on her head. Her tiny mouth formed into a smile I’d know anywhere, her two, little, bottom teeth perfectly showing under the curl of her lip. Sitting, snug and secure in my lap, she continued to point at the birds and gasp at the bunny that seemed to come to see her at the base of the steps on which we perched.
Sitting, holding her, with my firstborn asleep in bed, I saw the day through her eyes, the eyes of a baby seeing an early morning for the first time, with all its intricacies—the leaves blowing, the brown rabbit, nibbling the grass, green and wet with dew. The world looked vibrant and alive. My baby girl was simply happy to be awake and in my arms, watching the morning as it unfolded before her eyes. Treasuring her, breathing in her hair and the smell of the last baby I will ever have, I gave thanks for the morning, for this child and the one still asleep. For the sun coming up over the tree line to shine on our garden. For the moon, retreating to allow the sun to make her way. For the rain, sure to come later on in the day, nourishing all this life.
My son’s favorite prayer is a very simple one he says at school with his teachers. The prayer is, “We are thankful for this food, for earth and all things good. For wind and rain and sun above, but most of all: for those we love.” What a perfect sentiment and prayer to begin this day, one in which I was awakened to the beauty of the early morning, holding a sweet baby who was seeing it all for the first time. So, while it is exhausting to parent a child who hardly sleeps, this morning, I was reminded of the beauty that is found in the waking.