Unless you’re very close to my family, what you may not know about T is that while she’s a pro at sleeping in her crib at night, she prefers to nap on people. She will readily fall asleep on a pillow placed across my lap, or on her father’s chest, or in either of her grandmothers’ arms. The minute you move her to her crib, however, she wakes. How we can move her into the crib at night but never during the day is one of her own great mysteries.
Sometimes being forced to stop for an hour or two a couple times a day to allow her to nap can be annoying. Sometimes I just wish she would go in her crib so I can get some stuff done around the house, or so I can just have an hour to myself. I think this is a normal, healthy thing. And truthfully, I don’t usually mind her sleeping on me, it’s just some instances that I wish she’d settle down on her own for a nap.
Today is not one of those days.
After seeing the photo of those poor drowned children on that foreign beach, my daughter can sleep on my lap whenever she wants. All day, if that’s her desire. She’s doing it right now, actually, and my right hand is numb and prickling from how her heavy, dream-filled head is lying on my arm. I have typed this entire post with the index finger of my left hand. There is a parent in the world – as there are many parents in the world – who would give everything he owns and more to be “stuck” holding his sleeping child.
I will never take the sound and feel of T’s steady breathing – in-&-out, in-&-out – for granted. I will never grow tired of looking down to see her nestled in tight against my chest. If she will only take a nap on me for the rest of her childhood, I will never hold that against her.
Yesterday, upon seeing that photo, I went upstairs to T’s room and interrupted her playtime with her father. I scooped her up into my arms, held her tight with her warm little cheek pressed to mine and with tears in my eyes I remembered: I am blessed, I am blessed, I am blessed.
I will never forget the image of that child, Alan Kurdi, lying on the beach, as if he too were only sleeping.
If only that could have been the true story of that photo.