Monday, July 5, 2010
Quiet Sleepy Moments
Occasionally on these mornings with daddy, Noelle will sneak into our room and get in our bed. This is the only time when she is quiet. She opens and closes the door very quietly, tiptoes the few steps to our bed and slips under the sheets on her daddy's side. She lays quietly in his arms until all eyes are open. I love these times. My favorite Noelle moments are when she is in bed with daddy. I love it when I open my eyes to see my wild-haired baby laying quietly with daddy. Sometimes she is just still and quiet. Other times she is singing softly. Her eyes are always fixed on daddy. Watching and observing him, fascinated, and very eagerly anticipating the moment when his eyes finally open and he whispers, "Good morning baby". She smiles as if daddy is her own personal Christmas.
This morning was one of those mornings. Through my earplugs I heard a strange clucking noise. I thought it was Jon's CPAP machine making crazy. My husband has sleep apnea and has to wear a face mask that is connected to a breathing machine. Sometimes his mask gets cock-eyed and all sorts of noises start popping off from his side of the bed. So I was surprised when I turned to find a gently clucking Noelle, bedded-down perfectly in the crook of daddy’s arm. I stayed “asleep”, not wanting to break the quiet.
Daddy stirred a little. He had already shed off his sleep gear. His free arm was over his head exposing his generous amount of underarm hair. Noelle was staring at his underarm with a very focused curiosity. Still clucking, she slowly stretched out her skinny little arm and laid it across daddy's chest. Her body is so small that her arm didn’t quite make it all the way across. Her clucking slowed as two of her fingers started tiptoeing gently but determinedly, trying to make it the rest of the way across Daddy’s chest. This is when I caught on that Noelle was on a exploratory mission.
Her fingers were almost to daddy's other arm when, just like a cat stretching itself out of a curled up sleep, Noelle stretched a single finger forward . Although all was silent, except for daddy’s sleepy breathing, I could almost Noelle cheering herself on "I -am-alllllllll-most-there" she seemed to say just as her stretch reached it's limit. The tip of her tiny finger very very lightly touched the curly tip of a single underarm hair. She made it! In one swift fluid motion, still with eyes closed, daddy caught her hand and rested it back at his side. She settled right back in the pocket of his arm, and went back to the usual, examining his face.
I pulled the duvet cover up over my mouth to hide my smile. It took every once of self control not to laugh outright. The movement made daddy open his eyes turn slightly my way. He acknowledged my hidden grin that my squinty eyes gave away. Noelle noticed it too, and with her beautiful full smile immediately began talking. "I want daddy to make me some cream in wheat." I nodded, noticing that daddy was still holding her hand, intertwining his fingers with hers. With her other hand, she was gently playing with his great big fingers.
I never interrupt those Noelle and Daddy moments. They have existed since Noelle's first days. Whenever Daddy got the chance to hold her outside of her incubator, despite her tininess and fragility at the sound of his voice, she gave him a big smile. From those days until now, I feel no need to be included. I am an observer, trying to take in as much as possible.
This morning I felt an enormous burst of gratitude. It left me somewhere between laughing and crying. Something about this morning's exchange made me feel strongly grounded. I can't offer any logic behind it. I just know that these intimate moments, fill me with a "knowing" that I am just where I belong. I feel full and complete. I am settled into the crook of my life's arm.