Last night I experienced a moment all parents await with baited anticipation: a full night’s sleep. This magical moment has eluded me for almost two full months – between the last few weeks of pregnancy and the first six weeks of Ellie’s little life – it’s been a long time. And even though everyone tells you that sleep does come back into your life, it was becoming harder and harder to believe, yet, out of necessity, I held on tightly to this far-off idea with hope.
And last night it happened.
Ellie, at just under seven-weeks old, slept a full, uninterrupted eight hours.
Joy and gratitude don’t even come close to expressing the happiness and pride I felt over this monumental night. I watched my little babe snuggle her tiny arms into a pillow for herself while I listened to the soothing sounds of her baby snores. As the first rays of light of morning stretched themselves through the spaces in between the window blinds, casting speckles of sunshine onto my face, my heart burst with sunshine of a different type.
My eyes closed in reflection and gratitude – filled with hope as I crossed this long awaited milestone as a first time parent – and my imagination transported me through dozens of scenarios I felt worthy to express my joy. Without exaggeration, below are the places my mind, and my happiness took me:
- I twirled with joy among the wildflowers of the Austrian hillsides with Julie Andrews
- I propped little baby Ellie onto my shoulder like a champion athlete and paraded her with song and confetti along the sidewalks of our neighborhood
- I jumped with childlike enthusiasm on a bed, bouncing on it like a trampoline and without a care as to what damage might be done to the mattress
- I woke up and high fived my sleeping husband and we threw an impromptu party to celebrate our success as parents
- I performed a monsoon-producing splash by doing a cannon ball off the side of my parents’ pontoon boat in the middle of summer
- I toasted a glass of fine champagne with the stuffed gray elephant that graces Ellie’s nursery dresser
- I hugged Ellie as if I had never hugged her before, turned on the loudest music I could find and we danced through the house like maniacs together as I embraced her
- I turned cartwheels through fields of lavender blossoms
In short, though I never left my bed, my mental celebration was a party I will never forget. Likewise, I will never forget this beautiful little milestone of sleep, which is of course, the absolute beautiful thing about having children: every milestone, no matter how small, counts.