Children finally to bed.
Orders to fill.
Emails to answer.
Dishes to wash.
Laundry to fold.
And still I sit and linger over my baby sleeping in my arms. I stroke his cheek, tickle his toes, hold his hand and kiss his forehead.
He turns one today.
He turns one and I don’t know quite what to feel.
A year ago, there was so much joy welcoming a new member to our family. And I still remember Tiggy walking into the hospital room to meet his baby brother for the first time. He was more interested in the snacks.
A year ago, there was so much fear as hour after hour passed and Micah was struggling to breathe. Late in the evening, he was finally moved to the NICU, to an incubator and poked full of lines and monitors and rather than the gurgly sound of struggled breathing, I sat up listening to beep after beep after beep. And I needed help to navigate all the wires just to hold him.
But now I hold him in my arms and he rests so peacefully. His breathing is slow and rhythmic. He is one year old today, and I hold his sleeping body and just watch him. Study him. Memorize him.
I watch him sleep like I did all my other children except him. For ten and a half months, I’ve laid him down to sleep and turned away. I couldn’t bear to look upon his features relaxed in sleep.
Because that night, ten and a half months ago, I saw another son lying on his death bed. Held him in my arms. Studied his features looking for him in the shadow of death. But with the life gone from his body, he no longer looked like himself. He could have been another child.
He could have been Micah. For when Micah’s features relaxed in sleep, he looked identical to his brother in death.
And I couldn’t bear to look.
But at one, his features have begun to change. And I can again watch him sleep.
So I sit, holding my infant son, trying to make up for almost a year of looking away and just watch him sleep.