I held her daily in my arms. Sometimes tighter than others. Too many nights it was just us, alone in the dark, rocking to the sound of my tired frazzled voice. I learned to sleep in my rocking chair, occupying myself by nail biting and writing stories in my head.
We awoke in what was a pungent mix of tears and breastmilk -- the smell of a determined mother.
I cried alone and with her, walking the circles of her round rug, peeking in enviously at my husband and staring longingly at the crib.
And I begged her to sleep. Every single night.
The ritual became a fixture in my existence -- the constant struggle was my routine and my sacrifice of time, energy, and sore arms was my penance.
But now we sleep alone, in our beds. I tuck her hair behind her ear, read her stories, and sing her our lullaby, when she lets me. She calls for her daddy in the middle of the night -- I've become her second choice. And even though she still fits into my lap, there's not as much room left in my arms with her little brother taking up residence.
And damned if I miss every smell, every tear, and every one of those moments.
I never thought I'd say that.
But like everything else in motherhood, you can never say never.