FOR ELSIE: ‘WHEN YOU SLEEP’
WHEN you sleep, I spend ages marvelling at your face.
As it’s still the most beautiful I have ever seen.
And I smile as my eyes gaze on the one tiny freckle that’s dotted on your forehead, a pretty reminder of the fun we had last year on holiday in the sunshine.
When you sleep, I watch your chest rise and fall.
And if your breathing becomes too quiet or is too shallow, I will place my hand on your chest or even give you a little prod until you stir.
Just to check. Just in case.
When you sleep, I gently stroke your hair, brushing back any wisps or strands that may lie over your face with my fingers.
As I gaze at you again.
When you sleep, you look so peaceful.
So content, safe and loved, that when I look at you, I know that whatever happens in life, I have been well and truly blessed.
When you sleep, I can still see the remains of ‘baby’ in you. Just a little. Just enough.
The teeniest reminder of how tiny you used to be.
When you sleep, I listen to your gentle sleepy noises and smile at your little grunts. Even your snores are music to my ears.
How can this be?!
When you sleep, I sometimes hear you say something in a dream.
You often say ‘Mummy’ and I always check that you’re OK, even though you’re unaware that I do.
When you sleep, I like to tuck you in again.
I check you’re warm and cosy, before planting a kiss right on the top of your forehead. Do you ever feel them?
When you sleep, I whisper that I love you.
Or sometimes that I’m sorry, if it’s been one of those tough parenting days.
When you sleep, I will keep my fingers crossed that you won’t wake up during the night.
Not because I don’t want to see you, but because I’m exhausted and you need your sleep too.
When you sleep, I am often awake. For many reasons.
But this is what us adults do. We stay up later than little people or wake at silly times, searching for answers.
When you sleep, sometimes in the early hours, I lie there in the dark and thank ‘the gods’ for you.
And I think, how lucky am I?!
When you sleep, and I cannot, I worry about you.
So, so much my love.
I ponder over your happiness and wonder whether or not you really know how loved you are.
When you sleep, I often ‘tell myself off’ for not being the perfect mum.
And make you silent promises, that I’ll do my best to do better. To become better.
Just for you.
When you sleep, my brain rattles as I think about all the amazing things we’ve done together so far.
And I’ll plan out more exciting times for us all in my tired, frazzled head.
When you sleep, I become fearful about your future.
As a girl, a teen and a woman.
But you must never worry because Mummy is good at catching and I’m ready for your inevitable falls.
When you sleep, I lie there thinking about how much you mean to me. Of how the love I have for you, really is everything.
There’s a song in that, I think.
When you sleep, I sometimes cry a little.
All mummys do it sometimes when they’re burnt out. Or perhaps it’s just me. Either way, just know that this is normal. One day you may even know what I mean.
When you sleep, in our bed, you take up all the room and I get hardly any rest which makes me tired and grumpy.
But when you wiggle nearer for a cuddle in the early hours, I wonder why I ever mind.
When you sleep, I make wishes for you and I say more words to ‘the gods’.
I have so many wishes for you Elsie. Thousands in fact! Wouldn’t it be lovely if they all came true?
When you sleep, I often have the privilege of sleeping there right next to you.
And I know one day, these days will go.
I ask time to slow down a little and thank my lucky stars, that all being well, I’ll get to see you in the morning.
As I hold your little hand and whisper goodnight.