When my children were infants, I loved to watch them sleep. The steady breathing, the rise and fall of their chest, the knees tucked underneath themselves so their bottoms point upward toward the ceiling, their scrunched pouts, their little fingers relaxing from a clenched fist into a loose surrender.
I remember one evening over eight years ago when a friend visited. She hadn't yet met my daughter, still only a few months old, so together we tiptoed into the darkened nursery. We stood by the side of the crib, silent, soaking in the sight of Reese's sleeping form.
Despite our quietness, a moment later Reese stirred and lifted her head. You've never seen two adults drop to the floor that quickly and army-crawl out of a room. Busted.
Over the years, I've gotten out of the habit of checking on my children as they sleep. They're older now. Once they're tucked in, they're down for the night. Plus, once I've tucked them in, I'm done for the night.
The other evening, though, I discovered Spunky, my three-year-old's beloved stuffed puppy, downstairs after she had gone to sleep. I carried him up to her room, opened the door, and gingerly approached to return the puppy to her side.
When children are asleep, the chaos and antics of the day fall away. I alternated between Kerrington's and Brooke's bedsides, absorbing the sight of their faces as if I hadn't seen them all day even though we just had spent hours together. I felt the inexplicable sensation of missing them even though they were right there. I was reminded that motherhood is less of a job and more of a high calling.
I had forgotten how amazing it was to watch a child sleep. All these years later, it's still mesmerizing.