Despite my many years of poor sleeping, the wee hours of the morning are still best….after all is said and done.
A night spent setting aside full dinner plates for my home late husband so he has little washing up to do and preparing for the mornings breakfast is all task. I move through these things like a machine. Having gotten the kids to sleep with pleading for calm and some frustration, a couple of room re entries and more kisses, i get to sit alone with sleeping cats and a wiry dog, eat my dinner and finish a bottle of red wine. A little numb, a little wondering where the time goes I walk the dog for her last pee, check on all morning things, create my list, cover the girls and get into bed. I have a good 2 or 3 hours of sheer dark sleep and then my day begins again. The dog growls at one of the cats, distressing me as my cats were in my life first and have every right to be on the bed too. My youngest has quietly entered the bed, like my husband. Space shrinks. My oldest child enters talking and negotiating space with me as she knows that i speak alert and keen no matter the time of night. We are all in the bed and I hear the deep sounds of breathing and the occasional cough and rattle that plagues children for months at a time. The dog curls below the kids feet, there is more room there. Mr. Coco begins his job of obsessive purring and head butting while the other 3 cats are silhoutted in the room agreeing from a distance. I am awake, if not to make sure that my husband rises when he must,then to get up and feed the cats so they can peacefully eat at 5 or 5:30 followed by loud play without dog interruption. The dog is lazy and will sleep beyond all of us in the large king sized bed that only she gets to experience alone.
After my husband has left to catch his train, all breakfast is cooked and on hold in pans, bowls and toasters, cats are lounging, backpacks packed with just prepared lunches, jackets set aside, kids beds made,though they have not been slept in for hours, litter boxes scooped, clothes set out for the day and toothbrushes smeared with that one pea sized dot of toothpaste….I get to enter my bedroom and wake my children.
The sleep is deep and warm for both. I crawl between both and begin. My oldest can be a sour riser. Whether by soft touch or voice, there is no right way. With the youngest, she adores waking by the sound and smell of me still. I touch her hair, press my whole face to her face and then kiss her repeatedly. I sink my lips into her still baby soft cheek and whisper her name. I rub her tummy and press my face to her still more, breathing her and knowing that she is soon to grow big and into a woman. She rouses smiling and loving me there….the wee hours lead up to this with my youngest, as they had done with my oldest years before. After all is said and done, having that moment when i do is deeply glorious and thick with the best of love.
© Leslie I Partridge Sachs