I wake up to her cries on the monitor. Will she stop her own? Will the cries crescendo?
I check the time: 4:22. Her cries get louder. I make my way to her room through the dark, sure that she’s only broken out of her swaddle again, and there she is, both arms out, waving them above her head and wailing.
It’s not enough to simply wrap her up again. No, she signals for food. I know it’s not what she needs right now, that she’s so tired she’ll only begin to suck then fall back to sleep until I move again, but she won’t stop crying if I leave now. I sit down to feed her.
Exhausted, I place her back in her bassinet. It’s 4:52 am. By 5:00 she’s crying again, on and off for ten minutes, and then screaming. I want to sleep. I know it’s what she needs too.
Finally, at 5:58, she sleeps. The sun is peaking over Palmer campus behind my closed curtains. I have to feed her in half an hour.
The morning goes well. She eats, plays for awhile, sleeps great. And then her fussy time of the afternoon begins. More crying from 1:45 to 3:00. She’s not hungry, isn’t too warm or too cold. Just crying. She wants closeness, but she needs rest. I listen to her pleas for attention, thinking of how she needs nothing but the one thing she’s depriving herself of. I go to her, bring her to the couch with me, and hold her with a pacifier in her mouth–anything to help her sleep.
I’m frustrated. I want to write. I have laundry to do, dirty floors to clean, phone calls to make. No one to help me. I wonder, what is God teaching me?
Then I look down in my arms and see it. The sleeping baby, her quiet face, the hand on my chest. Peace.
How much did we both need this?
There is so much I want to get done. I feel I need to keep up with housework, make decent meals, get writing, and find work.
But God says be still.
When I think I need to shower and get dressed, he has me in a messy bun and pj’s. When I sit down to work on a blog post, he has me cuddling a sleepy baby. When I get angry, he reminds me this won’t be forever. And I can’t wish today away. She’s only this little once, and as I’m told, one day I will wish for these days back.
I’m reminded, too, of his goodness and perfect knowing. As I strive to assess and meet my baby’s needs, I know he will guide me if I only ask. As I listen to a crying baby after laying her down for a nap, knowing she is fine and only needs sleep–though she feels I am far when I am only on the other side of the door–I’m reminded that God is the ever-perfect provider, and that he knows what is best for me even when I am mistaken.
I ask for a full-night’s sleep, he gives me morning naps. I ask for time to clean, he teaches me to be satisfied with good enough.
And if I sit down to a meal and the baby cries, only wanting snuggles–God teaches me to cherish her smallness. He brings me closer to him in the small moments of stillness when I recognize my baby’s need for closeness, and my own need to slow down.
He calls to my mind too how infantile I am in my faith. I think I know what I need and when I need it. He knows that when I’m crying out for sleep, I will one day again get sleep. When I ask for work and a stable income, he knows when it will happen and what that work will be. For some reason, for now, he asks I only be still and remember that he knows. One day I’ll be thankful for this–I should enjoy the slow, simple days filled with snuggles.
Today only happens once.