Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sleeping Babies

Recently a friend posed the question on Facebook, "Need to hear some more positive thinking...what makes you happy? Don't say money, sex or kids."

I guess I kind of broke the rules because my answer was watching my children sleep. For me it is one of the simple pleasures of parenting that has only grown sweeter with time, and no matter my mood or the rigors of the day, it always makes me feel content and happy inside. I recently read the book Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, and in it he includes this beautiful reflection on sleep: "It's a purposeful irony of life, I suppose, that we never get to see ourselves in that state. We can only pay witness to our waking reflection, which to one degree or another is always fretting or afraid. Maybe that's why young parents find it so beguiling to spy on their children when they're fast asleep."

There is something so peaceful and innocent in childhood slumber. The rosy cheek, the even breath, the relaxed fingers. In fact, the older they get and the more active and chatty they become, the contrasting repose of deep rest is inspires all the more nostalgia for the infantile memory it whispers. When they sleep, they are like babies again.

Genevie has developed some peculiar sleep habits lately. She has become obsessed with turning the light on and then falling asleep with it on. Most nights when Trey and I turn in, it is on, and she may be fast asleep in her bed or, just as likely, sprawled out on the floor with her pillow and blanket. We invariably rearrange her back in bed, turn off the light, but it is not uncommon to wake up in the morning and for it to be back on with her still fast asleep. She's either getting up and turning it on, or light fairies are playing tricks with us.

All of this, however comical, has caused me to reflect again on how much I love this time of day, not just for the quiet it daily restores to our house, but for the rare glimpse back in time to those lovely early newborn days when their needs were so simple and basic.

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