For (what felt like) years, leaf would only sleep on me or when she was transferred painstakingly, in minuscule increments, on a perfectly even plane, to another equally as cushioned surface as mamas boobies and residual jelly belly.
I tried EVERYTHING you can think of, and nothing helped shift her out from under the undiluted heavy cloud of dependence.
But one day while we were strolling – I on my leaden weary hooves, leaf reclined and slumped to the side of the pram, chin lifted to reveal those delicious neck rolls and the faintest of snores – I had a realisation.
I could literally not remember the last time I had seen her asleep.
I couldn’t stop, obviously, lest I wake the she-devil with sixth sense sonar sensitivity, but I couldn’t keep from staring. Every few steps I slowed down as much as was permissible, and snuck a peek.
That night was the first night I realised we were kind of out of that new born faze. I don’t even remember how old she was, surely more than six months.
But I do remember how much I missed her.
That was the first night I acknowledged that there would come a last time that I’d see her asleep.
That there’d be a time when I would put her down and never pick her up again.
That she wouldn’t always need me.
I still feel that way, despite the large number of days that I wish the kid would cut me some slack.
It’s really a very lonesome thought, and comes closely coupled with the knowledge that our conscious love is probably a long way from being equally reciprocal, if it ever is to be.
Because of this, I miss her even when she’s staring me in the eye and asking me to fix her sore knee by kissing her finger better.
Because of this, I check on her each night before I sleep.
Because of this, sometimes I can’t sleep because I want to be awake in case she cries out.
Because of this, I’m reluctant to give her a brother or sister.
Because of this, I struggle to leave her with anyone.
Because of this, I haven’t pursued my education, employment, or fitness with any respectable gusto.
Because of this, I pick her up and breathe deeply of her while she sleeps and sing to her, or whisper stories, or just tell her I love her over and over again.
She ruins me, but she also completes me, and I think that’s the mark of a great and enduring love story.
And I ALWAYS want to remember that.