Many nights while I rock my baby to sleep, all I can think about is my to-do list. I’m thinking about work deadlines and about how to add healthier options to our family meals. Then I picture the laundry piles, the clean, unfolded pile waiting to be folded and the dirty pile waiting for me in the basement. And then I start thinking about our calendar and the things we are doing throughout the week.
I rock my baby, but I’m staring blankly at his bedroom walls, almost looking right through them, as my mind is consumed with work, schedules, meal planning, and sock and underwear piles. How is it that life takes over even the most simple and quiet moment in my day? When I rocked him tonight, I got lost in those thoughts and that growing task list. It doesn’t stop growing, and the bigger it grows, the more stressed out I feel that I’m not accomplishing things at home and at work.
Then something distracted me. Something broke my train of thought.
I looked down and there he was.
My sleeping baby. My sweet baby breathing slowly in and out. In… and out. His little hand clutching the middle of my shirt. His pink lips still in sucking motion even though he stopped nursing before he fell asleep.
My to-do list vanished from my mind instantly, and I felt my heart gently say, “You know nothing on that list needs to be accomplished in this moment. Just hold him. Be with him.”
I smiled knowing it was true. Nothing else mattered in this moment. Why did I pick this moment to create recipes in my head for dinner? And why did I try to write email responses for work in my head when I’d forget it all by the time I was able to actually go write the email?
Why couldn’t I be in the moment with my sleeping baby from the start and ignore what was going on inside my head? Instead of going down that trail and getting down on myself, I did what my heart felt. I just held him. I spent that time rocking him in the quiet for a while before it was time for him to go in his crib.
I leaned my lips down toward his little face and whispered softly,
Goodnight, my baby.
Sleep well, my precious baby.
My baby, I love you.
Mommy and Daddy love you. Goodnight.
I held him a little longer, memorizing the curves in his cheeks and lips and chin. Just when I was about to carefully get up from the rocking chair, something didn’t let me move. I couldn’t get up. My heart longed to sit with him for a few more minutes. I kept rocking and looking at his sweet, sleeping face.
I leaned down closer to his face this time and whispered even softer,
Sleep well, my baby.
Oh, my baby, how I love you. We love you.
I got up from the rocking chair, still swaying back and forth to keep him in motion. I walked over to his crib, gave him a kiss on his forehead, told him I loved him and leaned as far into the crib as possible before laying him down.
Afterwards, I got to work on my to-do list and writing those emails. But that moment with my baby still has me smiling. Nothing else mattered in that moment but to hold him and to be completely with him.