Dancing Through the Long Nights

Lately, Asher has been waking at some point during the night/early morning and needing my help to get back to sleep. 4:00 AM feels awfully early, but I also have to remind myself that it's actually pretty impressive that he went that long, considering he goes down around 8:00 PM. Nevertheless, dragging this tired body out of bed at that hour always feels difficult. When M is home and a mere hour or two from his own alarm going off for a full day of work, I scoop up Ash in my arms with his Lovey and trek into the nursery. I flip the fan on high (because homeboy sleeps so incredibly warm and usually calms quickly with a cool breeze), turn on his soother and the diffuser, execute a quick diaper change, and settle in for our dance.

That's right, we dance.

I hold him as he rests his head on my shoulder, Lovey clutched between us, and I bounce. I bounce until I feel him relax and his breath slow, signaling that he's ready for me to cradle and sit in the recliner to finish up the night (morning) together.

I wish I could tell you that it always feels beautiful, precious. It doesn't. Some nights, I'm fighting back tears. Of exhaustion, of frustration, of stress, of sadness. So many feelings. I wish I could sleep uninterrupted for a whole night. I wish he could sleep uninterrupted for a whole night. I wish I could snuggle my husband. I wish I could unwind before bed with a bath, a book, a glass of wine. I wish I could wake up and get dressed in my favorite clothes and go to work with a hot cup of coffee in hand. I wish I could play with him all day without constantly watching my phone for a work email or message. I wish I could write in a coffee shop without an ounce of guilt or exhaustion.

I think about all of these things at 4:00 AM. My head swirls, my heart swells, and my joints ache as I bounce and rock my precious baby boy for however long he needs to find his own peace. Sometimes it's minutes. Some nights, hours.

This is our dance. It's beautiful and it's overwhelming at the same time. I see him rest comfortably in my arms as the morning light drifts in around the curtains of the nursery, and I want that moment to exist forever. There, I find strength, rest, and joy. And I have just enough in me for another night of dancing with my son.

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