One of the things I'm learning is that as your children get older and you can begin to reliably regain a normal amount of sleep at night you really forget what those sleepless nights were really like. And once those sleepless nights begin again you find, in my case at least, that you have a much harder time physically adjusting to them than you did before. I swear I used to be able to get zero sleep and still function like a somewhat normal human...though I might have been a few years younger then. Ahem.
I've battled a bit of a cold all week and it left me feeling very run down, and quite frankly just plain exhausted. I was so thankful when Saturday rolled around and my amazing husband was able to step in and let me sleep as much as humanly possible in an effort to get caught up on some much needed restoration. I awoke feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the laundry list of projects I had procrastinated on all week - and the actual laundry. I also awoke with a bit of a headache. Nevermind that, press on! There are things to tend to I told myself, but eventually the headache won out. By the time our evening routine started my head was pounding. It hurt to move (heaven forbid I had to bend over for something) and nothing seemed able to combat it.
I was relieved when even the tiniest girl seemed settled down for the night. I gave myself just a few extra minutes to sit before heading to bed, but just as I was ready to start towards bed, someone decided it was time to wake up again. And so has gone our night. We've slept possibly a grand total of 2 hours tonight and my headache has not improved one bit.
Yet as I sit here in the early morning hours typing this on my phone while rocking with a fussy and restless baby in my arms, I can't help but notice how differently this scenerio is playing out than it might have in years prior. I'm not lamenting over the lost sleep, and wishing for the days that, when I put her in bed she actually stays there for the night. Sure, tomorrow I will be exhausted, and I'd never turn down more sleep if it were offered, but those days will come in due time. She will never be this small again. I will never have the chance to rock her at this exact age again after this, for each day she grows a bit more.
Our oldest two don't need rocking to sleep anymore, in fact they're becoming more and more independent with each passing day. So tonight I rock, and ponder, and cherish each sleepless moment while it lasts because I know all too well it will quickly - much too quickly for my liking - flow into the next stage of mothering.
So maybe I have learned a thing or two along this journey of motherhood after all...if only I had learned to like coffee. Yawn.