Often, I'm coming from a brightly lit area, so it takes my eyes a minute to adjust until I can see her. I stand over her crib, blinking into the darkness, waiting for my pupils to dilate. After a few seconds, I can usually make out her hazy outline. A few more seconds, and the position of her limbs and head is more clear. Finally, I can see her in total, her back* rising and falling as she sleeps, usually with one hand curled up near her head and the other splayed out behind her. I stand there for a minute or two, and let the beauty of the moment consume me.
You'd never know, looking at her peacefully slumbering, what she's been through already. The surgeries, the physical therapy, the medications. You'd never know, frankly, to look at her during the day, as she alternates between joyful glee and serious exploration of her world. In the dark, these are not the thoughts that come as I watch her. That time, somehow, remains reserved for joy. She is resilience personified, and I'm so blessed to be her mother.
This Mother's Day, my first as a bonafide mother, is admittedly bittersweet as I ponder the years of infertility and loss that preceded it. But the gift that is our child provides more than enough sweetness to offset the bitter. And this evening, as I ponder her sleeping form before headed to sleep myself, I'll allow myself a moment again to let the gratitude wash over me.
* We put her to sleep on her back every night, but she's capable of rolling independently and thus safe to leave on her belly when she winds up there - which she does most every night now. But "back to sleep" for infants always!!!