Twisted awkwardly so my burgeoning belly is supported and I'm not strangled by your body draping across me, I dismiss the throbbing discomfort as you snuggle yet closer. You sigh as you settle your head on my shoulder, which I'm sure can't be completely comfortable for you either, and I know you aren't far from sleep. I cherish this moment with you, my firstborn. The moments when you are yet an only child will soon come to an end, making this one all the more sweet.
Your little hand reaches up and wraps around my neck, your body in a sudden starburst that stretches all the way to my knees. You used to fit entirely on my chest. Who is this long girl? My mouth is briefly filled with soft, long hair as you turn and I sputter as silently as possible so as not to disturb your now even breathing. A tear drops onto your head, not really from sadness but from that mother's ache way down deep that is hard to describe, full of terrible delight and the strength of sacrifice. I know someone who calls it a "joyful pain."
I stroke your fingers, longer than they once were. I find your fingernails, sporting chipped polish. I used to gaze in wonder at their tininess. Soon there will be more tiny fingernails in the house. I have a feeling you'll join me in the wonder-gazing: you're already fascinated with all thing tiny and baby.
My pregnant belly rumbles with hunger, yet I don't want to untangle this cuddle. I'm caught by the realization that soon meeting another's needs may result in the disappointment of some of your desires. I pray a blessing over you that we may always find special moments, just you and I. And I stretch this moment long because I'm still crying and you're still snuggling and you're the only one I need to hold right now.
Oh my daughter.
How I love you.
Oh, how I love you.
Good night my footie-pajama-clad, softly snoring, active even in your sleep, Alia Grace. You bring light to my heart even in a dark room and offer another glimpse of the Father's heart for me. I'm sorry your hair is salty wet.
Sweet dreams, daughter. May you actually get to ride the kite with Curious George this time. :)