Heather had been up half the night, either because of my coughing, or Elianna coughing. At 6am I rolled out of bed, congested, with my wife asking if I could rock Elianna. Sure, I thought, no problem.
We don’t normally have this problem at 6 am. For a few days Elianna had been sick so she needed a little more help calming down when she woke up spluttering from coughs, sneezes and her own congestion.
Let me also be clear – I’m aware 6am is easy compared to 2am, or 3.
As I walked into the room she sat cross legged, one pacifier in her mouth and the other two in her hands. The first trick which came to mind was to lay her back on her side and leave. It didn’t work. So I picked her up and rocked her. She cried for 20 minutes, which is nothing compared to some children, but a lot for this one while she’s being rocked.
It bothered me a little but then she quieted down and I found myself praying softly as her gaze became distant and her eyelids began to droop. This is one of my favorite times and as she gets older they are becoming fewer and further in between.
It made me think back to the first few months when I rocked and bounced her while she screamed and we couldn’t figure out what was upsetting her. Back then I was desperate for Elianna to fall asleep and give the household some rest. I remember waking in the morning barely able to function but I also remember my doctor’s sweet advice. “Value those nights that you’re awake at 2am, before long you’ll look back and realize you shouldn’t have wished them away. They’re precious.”
I remember thinking – they could have been precious if she hadn’t been crying.
Now there is not as much time for prayer as she lies in my arms, or before bed as she drifts to sleep. Already there is not as much reliance on me as a father helping to bring her peace and calm. She’s mostly learned to self soothe and that’s a good thing. My hope is that I made the most of these times and will make most of these times in the future. Even if they are few.
I’m certain my whispered prayers and silent songs have, and will, make a difference.