| LifeTakes |

Sweet Dreams  

 I held on to that dream for a year and more. Each month, and another, and another

When my first baby was a newborn (and then not such a newborn), I had a dream.

The dream was simple. To sleep six hours in one stretch.

“Do you think,” I’d ask my husband plaintively, “do you think that it will ever, ever happen again?”

It just didn’t seem possible, in the spaces between feeds, in the two-hour stretches that were over almost before I could begin to dream.

“It will come, you’ll see,” the experienced mothers told me, but I just couldn’t see it. How? When? Really?

“When I finish nursing,” I’d say dreamily, wistfully, yearningly, “I’m going to a hotel for a night. Just me and no one else. And I’ll bring books and nosh. No phone. And I’ll sleep. I’ll sleep for hours and hours. With no one to wake me and nothing to stop me.”

I held on to that dream for a year and more. Each month, and another, and another, pushing myself on just a little longer, for my baby, for me.

I stopped nursing when I discovered, to my delight, that there was another baby on the way.

My baby — well, big baby — took it with equanimity. He was ready to let go. So was I — that part of it, at least. But the hotel dream….

Big baby was sleeping through the nights (sometimes. Mostly. Ish.). I got my six-hour stretches (at least once a week). And… I was too nauseous to enjoy a night on my own.

But all first trimesters end eventually, and with the sudden resurge of energy and appetite I realized: I need to do this. Not because I need it now; because I will need it, I’ll need the memory and the promise, when I’m flung once again into that beautiful, hectic maelstrom that is life with a new baby.

And that’s how I find myself in a hotel just 20 minutes and a world away from my machsan apartment, drinking in the luxury and feeling a strange cocktail of excitement and weirdness, like I’m missing a limb.

The room is large, quiet, and empty. The bed is huge, fluffy, and white. I have hours and hours and hours ahead of me.

Forget a stretch of six. I could do 12 and more….

And there’s no one to wake me. No one to need me. No one whose screams will pierce my dreams, no one to shatter the stillness of the night with teething pain, or a lost paci. No one just waking up for the morning when I’ve only just about closed my eyes.

And suddenly, my heart is hurting.

I lie on the bed and spread out my arms and try to luxuriate in the absolute stillness.

But my fingers itch for my phone, an update, text me an update already, is he home, happy, sleeping?

And I realize: I miss my baby.

I miss him so, so much.

I want to compartmentalize, and I do. I eat supper: yummy takeout with some of my favorite treats for dessert. I read an entire novel cover to cover. I take out my laptop and write simply for the joy of it, and then I close my laptop, spread out across the huge queen-size bed, and dream.

But a small corner of my mind is just waiting for that text. Because my baby — does he miss me already? Does he realize this is the first night of his entire life that I haven’t been there to kiss him to sleep?

Does he know? does he notice? He must; he’s big enough to know. He’s also big enough to manage just fine with his daddy.

There’s a flutter in my stomach, and I smile. There’s a baby on the way.

Sleepless nights and endless days. Broken sleep and that crick in my neck from falling asleep nursing yet again.

But this time around, I’ll know better than to succumb to that fear of the endlessness, the disbelief that the sun will ever rise again to a refreshed mommy who’s had more than three hours sleep at a stretch. This time, I’ll know that the days will pass (the nights, too) and the six-hour stretches I dream of will become the norm once more.

And I’ll know, I’ll just know, that one day in the not-too-distant future I’ll be taking a solitary one-night-mom-boost vacation again, and somehow, even while I’ll revel in the silence, the solitude, the sleep, I’ll miss my baby again.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 819)

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