Since The Nugget was a newborn, we have spent her sleepy time in the glider in her bedroom, rocking and singing. In the beginning, her sleepy time often coincided with mine. We would doze together in the glider, a pillow tucked below her tiny body to keep her close to me even if my grip was loosened by sleep.
This snuggling and rocking is one of my favorite rituals. Early on I learned that I needed to embrace this time and not allow any thoughts other than this beautiful task to invade our sacred moments together. I used to sit with my infant and make lists about other things that needed to be done once I got the baby to sleep. It didn't take long to realize that not only did she pick up on this energy and not settle as well, but that I wasn't allowing myself to be present for one of the most precious things I did with my child. Once I let go of the task-oriented thought process, I became the one who wanted to rock longer than necessary and enjoy our quiet time for just a few more minutes. It became the time when we could cast aside our worries, or share them, and then turn them loose to the universe. It was, is, healing for us.
I have also always sang songs during these rocking sessions. While the songs have varied over time, some of our favorites have included: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "Moon River", and "Baby Mine". Now that she is older, I will normally ask her what she would like me to sing. She will almost always pick one of these "classics" along with one other, "newer" song.
Over the course of time, The Nugget's needs have changed. There have been periods, though brief, that she has not wanted to be rocked. I haven't liked it, but I have respected her decisions even from only a few months old on this matter. As time has gone on, she counts on being rocked as much as I count on rocking her. Unlike some children, she is not usually difficult to rock to sleep. She relaxes, snuggles, listens to her songs, lets the day wash away and sleeps.
Lately, though, my three year old has been all arms and elbows and knees and restlessness and wriggling and discomfort. Rocking, at times, has become something of a chore. She is getting big. It is hard to hold her on my lap as comfortably. I have wondered to myself, reluctantly, if it is time to give up this, our favorite ritual.
One recent and particularly uncomfortable night, I voiced my concerns to The Nugget.
"Honey, you're getting really big. It's getting hard for both of us to fit into the rocking chair. Do you think that it's time to stop rocking to sleep every night?"
"No" she answered without hesitation.
I smiled, glad that she wanted to hang onto this thing we have for a little while longer, even if it was becoming a bit of a challenge. "When you grow up, even if you move away and get married, can Mama come to your house and rock you to sleep sometimes?"
She nodded vigorously. Of course Mama would come rock her to sleep, even into her adulthood. She couldn't imagine why that would ever change.
And just like that, both of us curved ourselves to fit one another a little bit closer, a little bit easier than we had just moments before. I sent up a silent prayer of thanks that we have such a life as this one, so blessed to know this comfort and to be unable to imagine any other way of doing things than to dedicate this sliver of time every day to comforting and cuddling one another. So grateful that, for now, we can continue rocking in each other's arms.