My daughter has a typical bedtime routine that is totally absent of breastfeeding, rocking, lulling, patting, crying (mine, that is), and pleading. Now had you told me this little anecdote almost four years ago, I would have laughed at you.
Or cursed you, depending the on the night.
She was a beast of a sleeper, requiring some type of parental intervention involving an "ing" at way too many times during the night.
But now that we simply brush her teeth, read her a story, and turn off the lights, it's hard to remember how much work we used to put in just to get her to close her tiny little eyes and keep them closed for those precious dark hours. I've since pushed aside the difficult memories of her first year, mainly as a means to protect the little glimmers of sanity I have left.
Tonight she asked me to rub her back and sing her lullabies. She's laid claim to the five or so songs that were in regular rotation in mommy's live and in-person cd player. And so, out of respect for her request, I don't sing those songs to Drew. And since she doesn't need them anymore, I haven't sung them in a very long time.
As I softly scratched out a few notes as she lay quietly on her very big girl pillow in her very big girl bed and the memories flushed through me, I choked up a bit.
It wasn't a new feeling -- to be stifled by my own salty mix of frustrated sobs while singing those songs, standing painfully alone in the dark in a trance of sleeplessness and helplessness. But this time, the tears came with a smile, as I remembered the beauty of our nightly rendevous. Once tarnished by pain and frustration, the truly sweet moments I endured every single night with her for over two years were returned to me fully shined.
Almost brand new.
And for the first time, when I sang those words, my only memory was of that precious baby girl, my best girl, falling slowly to sleep in the crook of my tired left arm, her fuzzy head and compact body heavy as she drifted off into dreamland.
My memory reclaimed. My memory, as it should be.