Monday, June 27, 2011

Peace, Wonderful Peace.

On Friday we headed to the lake with the kiddos and spent the afternoon playing in the sunshine. By the time bedtime for Naomi rolled around, she was ready. Exhausted and cranky, we tucked her into the pack 'n play in her grandparents' room where she promptly conked out. An hour later, her cries could be heard echoing through the house, so we went in and got her and tried to figure out what was wrong. We decided it was because she was in a new place (we haven't been to the lake house since she was a few months old) and decided that maybe upstairs in the closet in our room would better suit her, since it would be pitch black. Pitch black usually works in a crisis situation.

So I lugged the pack 'n play upstairs and settled her down. Within a few minutes, she was asleep. Ahh. I stayed up a few hours later and finally headed to bed around 11:00, the first one to go to bed (I married a family of night owls). I crawled into bed with Cub asleep in the trundle next to our bed and Naomi asleep in the closet. My eyelids were heavy from the fun but busy day (and from my daily task of gestating) and I lazily checked Facebook before drifting off to sleep.

A few moments later I heard Naomi fuss.

But it wasn't an angry fuss. It was a happy "I just woke up!" noise. As in, "Wow, what a great nap I just had!" I pulled the pillow over my head and pretended I couldn't hear her. Surely, she would simply conk out once she realized it was still sleepy time right? I laid there and heard her continue to talk to her blanket and then she began speaking very angrily to her blanket and then she began to cry. For fear that she might wake up her brother, I decided I needed to go get her. By now I was beyond tired and a little cranky myself as I swung my tired legs over the side of the bed and slumped to the closet door. I opened it and picked up my little ray of sunshine, who cooed happily in my arms. I mumbled that she really needed to go back to sleep. I'm sure she understood me very clearly, based on her rapid arm movements and giggling.

So, I did the Mom Swing and slowly rocked her in my arms back and forth, standing in the dark closet, singing our lullaby for Mouse, "You Are My Sunshine". I sang it softly and she settled into my arms. I felt her grow heavier and heavier until I was sure she was asleep, or at least close to it. I gently leaned over the pack 'n play and set her inside when her little eyes popped open and she started to cry. I scooped her up again and started rocking back and forth and singing, barely keeping my eyes open. I lost my place with the lyrics at some point and I'm sure the words sounded like "You aw ma sumshinbth" as they slurred with my ever-growing weariness. I felt her grow heavy again but I didn't want to risk a premature landing, so I sat on the closet floor, criss-cross applesauce, rocking Naomi in my arms.

And I'm not sure if it was a second wind or a just a Mommish change of heart, but I was suddenly very content there on the closet floor. My usually-squirmy baby girl was lying still in my arms, snuggled close to me in the darkness. My change of heart changed my tune and I found myself singing "Count Your Blessings" to my little Mouse, softly while she started to fall asleep.

And then I started to feel a little badly for Mouse. She had had a long day, she was way overtired, and now she had to sleep in a closet. I couldn't blame her for having a rough time falling asleep. And again I found my tune changing to the chorus of "Wonderful Peace", a hymn that my family has sung for years:

Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace
Coming down from the Father above,
Sweep over my spirit forever I pray,
In fathomless billows of love!

All I wanted for my daughter at that moment was peace and I sang it over her in the darkness. It's hard to explain the poignancy of that moment, except that it was one of those moments where everything else disappeared and it was just she and I, in the quiet, together. Even after her heavy eyelids shut, I rocked her quietly and closely there on the floor for a while longer, cherishing the moment.

She stayed asleep all night.

As I thought about this today in the sunshine of the afternoon, it all seemed to sound a bit dramatic, what with hoping for peace and being so tired in the late hours of the night ... but the daylight always seems to make the nighttime moments seem insignificant. But the nighttime moments are significant. And I found myself looking at that moment with a sense of gratitude--the joy of cradling my precious girl. When I did finally lay her down, I crawled over my big boy in his bed, snuggling his Nigh-Nigh, bedheaded and sleeping with his mouth wide open, and when I pulled my covers up to my chin, my heart was full. And my husband, who had been downstairs and had missed all of the action, completed that fullness when he crawled into bed only moments after myself. My little family, my whole world, contained in one dark room.

I can sacrifice some sleep to appreciate that.

Have a lovely day.


  1. Oh my goodness that made me cry. Sometimes I can only think of the inconveniences but then God reminds me what a blessing parenting is. A lot of nights my son will ask me to lay with him for a little while. By a little while he means 5 min. Five min. of quiet undivided attention. At first I resisted. I was worried that I was breaking some cardinal rule of parenting. But then I realized that he is growing so fast (he's almost 4) and I gave in. It is the sweetest five min. ever. He quietly talks to me while he holds my hand. It's very peaceful and I cherish those moments because they won't last forever.

  2. Beautiful, Katie! What a lovely way to start my day, thank you!

  3. Had a similar blessings check recently too...your post made me tear up remembering.

  4. I'm so glad to read this. With a week of all kinds of travel looming before us (fun...but, you know), I needed this little reminder to treasure making my little baby peaceful and relaxed as I ask a lot from her. Thanks for being transparent in your parenting. Tis much appreciated. :)