She's been fighting sleep. She's laying on her left side. Her arm swings—a wide loop—before settling over her face, covering her eyes. A few minutes later, she throws her leg up, a motion that turns her onto her back. Her eyes pop open. A smile. A wrinkled-nose, two-front-teeth smile. A coo. A sniff.
"Go to sleep, Ruby Day."
I turn her back onto her side, holding her arm and leg in place with one hand and gently rubbing her head with the other. In me is a tension.
Go to sleep, sweet child. I've got a list of things I want and need to do. A few minutes to practice yoga, a few to read a page or two of my book. The dishes need to be done, the toys put away, and work—I've only completed two-thirds of my to-do list for the day. Go to sleep. I'm losing time.
Oh, sweet child. This moment is everything. Everything else is forgotten, nothing matters more. Tomorrow, when I wake up, I will look over at you and you will seem—you will be—bigger. You will open your eyes and smile. A wrinkled-nose, two-front-teeth smile. And you will be a day older. Tonight, your brain will make one new connection after another. A bit of who you are today will disappear into who you will be tomorrow. So, sleep now. I'll stay here and hold you close.
I took a few days off of work last week because, well, I was exhausted. The first couple of days were busy and fun and free. Jordan and I went to dinner for the first time in just about nine months. He brought me pastries and Bowtruss coffee for my birthday breakfast-in-bed. I had a massage that left me feeling drunk. We wandered around Charlottesville and drank a smoothie and bought succulents. There was cake and ice cream with family. The next day, there was dinner with friends. The day after that, more friends and a manicure and more friends. Then, a Monday spent shopping with my mama.
Then came Tuesday. I filled every waking moment. I accomplished as much in a day as one can with a scooting nine-month old. I cleaned and organized and ran an errand, at the end of the day, realized I had managed to find ways to stay busy. I had promised myself that I would slow down, soak in my time with Ruby, read, write, nap.
Wednesday. My last day of vacation, I did just that. I spent the day playing with my girl. When it was time for her afternoon nap, I slept, too—she sprawled on my chest, still small enough but not for long.
Sometimes, as she drifts off to sleep, Ruby pats my face with her tubby little hand. I wonder if I will remember how it feels, how it fills my heart. Will I remember the brush of her long, long eyelashes against my cheek when she leans in for kisses? Will I remember her pout, her giggle? The sound of her saying, "muh"?
I don't know. When she was born, I thought it would be impossible to forget her newness, that other-worldly gaze. But, even now, I don't really remember.
I guess what I'm saying is that I won't get this time back.
Friends, this is life. We spend far too much time filling the space, cluttering our precious moments with meaninglessness. Whether it's your baby or your partner or your mother or your friend or your neighbor, look into the eyes of the ones you love the most. Really look. Listen. Laugh and cry and dance and sit in awkward silence together. Put down the to-do list and definitely put down your phone. Stay. Hold them close.