My dear, sweet Katie,
We need to plan a family trip. Not to see new and fun things. But simply to stay in a hotel.
When you were a baby, your daddy and I worked to teach you how to sleep on your own.* I didn’t nurse you to sleep. We didn’t rock you to sleep. And in no way was any of that easy for us.
We wanted to hold your tiny body while you slept.
We longed to breathe you in and listen to and memorize your infant noises.
But, we believed then, and still do, that it was more important that you learned how to sleep without us.
We kept you in a bassinet in our room until you were three months old and I would lie awake so many nights, just listening to the sound of your breathing and all of the other strange sounds that tiny babies make.
Moving you to your own room was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences that I’ve had as a mother. I remember placing you in your crib and coming downstairs, video monitor in hand, to watch you sleep. And while I sat crying and watching you, you just slept. The only tears that were shed were mine.
Whenever we travel, you sleep with us so that you don’t roll out of bed. We went away a couple of weeks ago and those middle-of-the-night moments were my favorites of our entire time away.
Your sleeping body is just different than your awake body. You are still and languorous. Warm and squishy. I can just take you in. I can touch your hair, your cheek, hold you close, and listen to your sleeping sighs.
In those moments, you are my baby again.
I love knowing that you are beside me as I sleep. Opening my eyes in the morning and having you near reminds me of just how amazing this life truly is.
During your grandmother’s final days, we stayed in a hotel for a couple of weeks to be with her. The nights were often all that got us through the painful days. Breathing you in recharged us, Katie.
There are nights when I would love to climb into your bed and snuggle with you. But I don’t because I know that, ultimately, it’s not what’s best for you.
So, we need to plan a trip.
Where should we go? The hotel down the street? Across town? You pick.
Because, to me, where we go isn’t even remotely important.
I love you,
*Our sleep philosophy was the best choice for our family. In no way do I believe that it is what’s best for all other families.