I’m a night owl. I’ve always been at my most productive when the moon is high and the hours are small. After Madeline was born, my nights started getting later and later. I would come home from work, and the two of us would hang out until after Mike went to bed. It was fun being just the two of us. I’d ignore the little voice in my head that said she should go to bed earlier because we had such a great time bonding. Eventually though, she’d fall asleep, and I’d carry her back to bed and tuck her in next to her daddy. Then I’d go back out to the living room where I’d have a little bit of alone time before I’d join them all in sleep.

I was remembering last night how much I loved carrying Maddie when she was asleep. Carrying a sleeping child always seemed like such a parent thing to do, and I did relish that part of every evening when I’d rest her chubby cheek on my shoulder and bring her to bed. I enjoyed my alone time, too, but I loved when I would climb into our big next to her. She always rolled over into me, and we’d cuddle a bit before she tossed into her next position (she moved a LOT in her sleep). It was wonderful.

In the mornings after I became a stay at home mom, I’d wake up when Mike left for work and then I’d roll over to look at my sleeping girl. Sometimes she’d wake up after Daddy’s goodbye kiss, which was never good (she hated it when Daddy left). Other times, she’d sigh and open her eyes with a smile on her face. She’d push up to a sitting position, pounce on Rigby (who is NOT a morning dog), and then crawl over to me, look into my eyes, and brightly say “HI!” I’d whisper back, “hi baby girl, want to snuggle?” She’d then put her head in the nook of my arm, press her body into mine, and sigh again. Sometimes we could lay like that for the rest of the morning. I knew I was lucky to have a little girl who liked to snuggle.

I miss the closeness of sleeping with my daughter pressed into me. In the spot where she used to sleep is now this:

It’s some of her favorite toys and clothes. Shirts and pants she wore that used to smell like her. Stuffed animals and baby dolls that she loved and kissed. I now pull them into me, and I remember how wonderful and warm she was, how loving she was, and how lucky I am that we had those nights and mornings together.