12 May 2009
of late-night feedings and sleepy smiles
There are very few moments of my day that I can count on, that I know will be there waiting for me. Even fewer are those that help give life its fullness.
One such moment occurs around 11pm every night on a sleepy San Antonio street named West Huisache.
Every night, while she sleeps, I sneak into my daughter’s room and slowly start preparing her room for one last feeding and a night of sound sleep. I clip on the little lamp and lay out her last diaper. I set out her bottle and medicine and wind her little ladybug mobile one last time. Then, I lean over her crib and watch her sleep for a long moment, inhaling the sanctity of a moment that is quickly passing me by.
Her tiny little body rests in complete harmony, 4 months of development in a state of total relaxation.
Slowly, I unwrap her blanket and she stirs, wondering why I would be disturbing her in the middle of a dream about rattles or bubble bath or her far-off wedding day.
Keeping her as asleep as possible, I cradle her and take the two steps over to the rocking chair where her bottle awaits. In my arms, she eats her late-night meal, usually in a zombie-like state. Her eyes rarely open until she finishes the bottle. Only then does she whimper as I have to pick her up to burp her and change her last diaper of the day.
Laying on her changing table, she often fights through the sleepiness and smiles at me. I wonder if she knows how that melts me. I wonder if she is aware that such little smiles mean so much to me.
I guess I am lucky. Stef lets me feed Bella every night. It is a gift that I cannot thank her for enough. Longing for them all day in my cubicle, I am allowed a few sacred moments every night.
Every night, I am the last thing that my Bella sees before she drifts off to sleep. Every night, I lay her down, kiss her forehead, and whisper a few secret words to her. Every night, tip-toeing out of that darkened room, I feel a little more like the most blessed man on earth.