During this season in our life, we have been functioning out of one vehicle (my husband's work van.) Though it isn't always easy, we have been able to make it work for us. Part of the way we have done that is through utilizing public transportation. In the mornings, I schedule a ride on the shuttle-bus to pick me up and take me to work (in the evenings, my husband and the boys pick me up.) Though I have to wake up a little early and usually arrive to work early, this arrangement has shown to work very well for us.
This morning, my ride was late. As I was staring out the kitchen window, feeling annoyed that I could have gotten more sleep, my oldest sleepily wandered into the kitchen and inquired as to why I was staring out the window. I explained and asked him if he was awake because he had a bad dream. He replied, "No. I just want to cuddle with you."
My heart melted as I leaned down to lift him up (becoming quite a feat now, as he is nearly half as heavy as I and less than 2 feet shorter.) I held him in the kitchen for just a moment then suggested we move to Mommy and Daddy's room, where he could lie down and I could sit next to him and "cuddle" as I watched out the bedroom window instead. He consented and the next twenty minutes were spent with my eyes straining in the darkness to make out his face while running my fingers through his hair and praying over him as he drifted back to sleep.
He will be 6 in a few short months. His head is now nearly as big as his entire being when he first exited my womb (granted, he was premature and tiny.) He has a sprinkling of freckles across his nose that I adore; even in the darkness, my heart flutters because of them. He kept opening his sleepy eyes and smiling at me, his smile is beautiful and contagious. He looks like a miniature version of his father, with just a little bit of me sprinkled in (that must be why I am so fond of his freckles.)
As the first rays of sun began to break through the darkness, I sat in awe and praised God for the amazing gift the morning had surprisingly brought. Not just this morning, but so many times over the years I have found myself lacking in sleep, annoyed and desiring more, yet presented with the opportunity to just love my child with no distractions (granted, this morning I did have the small distraction of checking out the window for my ride...) I shamefully have not taken advantage of all of these opportunities, allowing my desire for sleep to distract from the fleeting moments of childhood.
I know that the time when my children no longer seek my comfort in the night hours will come far too quickly. While a part of me wishes it to come sooner than later (I really am just tired,) I know one day, I will long for those sleepy little bodies heavy in my arms. I want to pledge to not miss another opportunity, but I know I am human and will more than likely be tiredly selfish again. I will, however, try to remember to seize the next opportunity and all the ones after. And I will store this memory away safely, to be treasured in those days when I have all the time to sleep and no more little ones to cuddle.