It was 9:45, and I was ready for bed. But she was still up and couldn’t calm herself down. Jacob kissed me as he went to bed, “Goodnight,” he whispered, in the dark room.
I kept rocking… humming a lullaby, but not really present in the moment. Instead I was wishing I were going to bed at that moment too. I longed for the day, maybe a year from now, when she goes down at night and falls asleep on her own and sleeps a solid 8 hours.
But then I remembered roller coasters.
When I was a kid and we’d go to the amusement park, I’d ride the roller coasters over and over again – more times than I really wanted – just because I knew it’d be the last time for a while. When I knew the time to leave was approaching, I’d carefully plot my last few rides to make the most of every moment.
And this is a roller coaster.
There will be a day, not too far down the road, when she won’t need or even want me to rock her to sleep. There will be a day, not too far down the road, when I won’t be feeding her in the quiet hours of the night, when I can see the shadows her eyelashes cast on her cheeks and the only sound I hear is the steady cadence of her sucking and swallowing.
And on that day, I’ll wish I could take just one more ride on this roller coaster… one more rocking, one more cradling, one more moment at 2 am watching her sleep as she eats. And I whispered a silent prayer as she finally gave in to sleep, “Help me to soak in every beautiful moment and cease wishing my life away.”