Two nights ago Auggie slept the best night sleep he has had since his birth. Asleep at 8:30pm, awake once for some light stirring and inquiries (“Mom? Immy? Papa?”) before returning quickly to slumber. I woke at 5:00am to find Chris gone from our bed—into Auggie’s room during some night waking, I assume. I picked up my Kindle and read in the growing light while listening for the sounds of the two of them. Then at 6:15am I heard Auggie’s bright bell of a voice: “Uh oh!” I popped up and went to him. No Chris! Just my beautiful little son sitting in the glow of daylight that seeped around his blinds. Another day begun, and a solid night of sleep under his belt.
Eventually Chris emerged from the basement guest room and I shared the news. A few minutes later he asked me if I was relieved. It took a minute before I realized what he was asking, which was whether this felt like a milestone.
I suppose it could, and I appreciate him framing it as such. It’s funny that it didn’t strike me as that right away, though. I suppose everything feels like a meandering stream of progress, rather than a set of major accomplishments. I knew one night he would sleep soundly the whole night through. Yes, at times that seemed impossible or impossibly far away. But I have never doubted that one day we would arrive. And I suppose that day may have been yesterday.
It’s easy to place caveats on one’s so-called parenting successes. Maybe it would have felt more monumental had I not crept into his room when I heard him stirring in the night and spoken softly to him for 5 minutes, before falling asleep in his chair. Or, maybe it would count if I had been able to return to sleep quickly once I moved to my bed, rather than lying there focusing on my breathing for another hour. Maybe it would have felt important had I slept all the way until his waking hour, rather than coming awake at 5:00 and being unable to fall back asleep.
In any case, dreams of relief and major corners turned did not endure. Last night he woke four times, and I staggered to his room each time to try to resettle him. He grasped my hand in the dark, holding it to his chest as his breath would slow and sleep would retake him. My longest stretch was four hours, and this morning I have the familiar weariness of the long work of parenthood.
But right now he’s asking me to use my knees to make a fort of the blanket on his bed. So I will put down this computer and do so, because his sweet little smile is the sunshine in my life.