If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep. ~Dale Carnegie
My dearest E.,
Dale Carnegie’s quote is so apt. Being deprived of sleep is bad enough. Your body and mind are tired, but for whatever reasons, you are kept awake and you need to attend to more important things than sleep. It was like that for me the first few months after you arrived- but I wouldn’t change it for the world, sweet pea! Waking up in the middle of the night to nurse/change/feed you was the most amazing experience for me. Also fueled by the realization that you needed (and still need) me, my one desire during those moments was to provide for you and comfort you in your most vulnerable state. Now you sleep quite well almost throughout the night after your last feed, and although I welcome the resting hours I am given now, I do miss those times we spent together at night (or in the wee hours of the morning).
Sunday night/Monday morning found me unable to go to sleep. You fell asleep not long after your last night feed, and your father was watching football downstairs. I paced through “The Street Lawyer” by John Grisham, a book I had read at least 20 times and clearly showed it: with dog-eared, yellowed pages and higgledy binding. My body was yearning for rest, sweet pea. We had had a long day, especially playing with you, and I was exhausted. But my mind wandered, like an animal set free into the wilderness and long after I had finished reading my book, I was still lying in bed, comforter pulled up to my chest, staring at the ceiling. Your father came upstairs and fell asleep almost immediately upon his head touching the pillow. Still, sleep eluded me.
You moved in your sleep, shifting for a more comfortable position perhaps. Sometimes, you let out a tiny whimper. Or your little foot would find its way between the crib slats. I woke up each time to look at you, using the illuminant from my mobile phone as light. For a long while, I sat in front of your crib, resting my chin against the bed slats, just watching you. Your chest quietly heaving up and down, your tiny fingers gripping the corner of your blanket, your toes wiggling every now and then. Peaceful and quiet. You sleep the slumber of an angel. I counted my blessings again, and thanked the Lord that you were mine.
You know, E., when you can’t sleep, you think. And I thought a lot that night. Of my work in the office. Of your grandparents. Of your father. Of you, most of all. As I sat there beside your crib, for over an hour, thoughts just kept washing over me, most of them memories of your early days. These thoughts were so vivid and crystal-clear and happy, that I found a tear rolling down my cheek. It was very dream-like. And like in dreams, that tear appeared to glisten as it quietly plopped on my hand- and the illumination of that tear opened up ever more doors to memories.
I finally blew you a kiss and went downstairs, unlocking our main door and ventured outside. I sat out there in our small, tiled “garden” for a long while, contemplating the silence of the night, occasionally shattered by the cry of a neighbourhood cat, or the distance rumbling of a car engine. The night was beautiful and quiet, the sky was high, dark and perfectly clear, completely cloudless, dotted with more stars than I could count. One star blinked constantly, and I took that to be some sort of satellite. Three stars, however, formed a perfect line. I wondered if that was supposed to mean something. I kept looking up, counting the bright stars, wondering what the world beyond ours was like.
Perhaps Heaven. I don’t know. But that night, I fancied all the people I had loved and lost watching down on me. Most of all, I fancied my grandmother (my father’s mother- she passed away the year your father and I got married) looking down on me. I could almost feel the light touch of her old frail hand on my head, the warm dry skin of her cheek pressed against mine, and I would breathe in the sweet pleasant smell of her scented powder. And I wished fervently that she could have stayed in our world a little longer, if only to see you. She would be so proud of you, my little one. She would’ve loved you as much as I do.
The sky was so lovely and endless, my little E. That wide expanse across our world. Who knows what lay beyond? I felt comforted, thinking about my grandmother that night. And someday, little E., when you’re grown and sitting out in the garden watching the sky one lonely night and when I have been called into the world of spirits, always remember that I love you, and that I am only a heartbeat away. As long as the stars shine down from the heavens, I shall watch and guard over you, like the skies watch and guard over our world.