Its 3:00 am when a tiny voice enters my room, crying out in discomfort. I open one eye and realize it’s my son. He climbs up in bed and tells me his ear hurts. I get him some Motrin and he settles in between us. I lie there restlessly trying to fall back asleep. My alarm clock will sound in an hour and a half, but I know my busy brain will not allow me to doze again.
I lie thinking about the appointment I will have to cancel, the new appointment I will need to schedule once the pediatrician’s office opens, the workout I might miss, the deadline for the article I am writing, I wonder if he will need antibiotics, why his sisters tolerate pain so much better, could this be something other than an ear infection, on and on and on. Its clear to me, I will not be falling back asleep.
He wraps himself around me like a tree frog, intertwines his legs through mine and his hand begins to twirl my hair. He tries to get as close to me as possible, nearly lying on top of me. His breathing turns to longer, deeper breaths. He has fallen back asleep. I am grateful his pain has subsided for now. I begin to think less about all of the things I must now do as a result of him missing school today and more about the fact that I must be more present in this moment. How long will this sweet 4-year-old boy come to me in the night to make him feel better? For now, I am the only one to fix his owes. I decide to savor this moment instead of allowing the ribbons of anxiety to weave throughout my head. I smile quietly to myself and wrap my arms around him even tighter. I breathe him in.
I realize these fleeting moments are just that. The day will come when this will be a distant memory and that will be a rougher realization than one night of broken sleep. I have never felt so at peace in the moment. He is my sweet little boy, but not for long.