I am struck, at 2:30 in the morning, by how far Eliot's legs dangle down off my lap as we sit and silently rock. He grows by inches and feet during the night, like a spear of asparagus stealthily pushing its way out of the ground. One day he was not there at all, and the next he was standing tall beside me. Tomorrow night I fear I'll find myself rocking a forty-year-old grown man, whose legs touch the ground, as in the weirdly captivating children's picture book Love You Forever. Will he be clutching his plush blue moose, I wonder?
I rock him longer than I need, or longer than HE needs, to tell the truth. I listen to his soft breathing, thankfully clear of any wheeze. I breathe in the night scent of him, no longer baby sweet, more toddler grubby and urine soaked diaper. My hands appreciate his fleecy warm pajamas as I gently pat his back.
Much later, it feels, I lay him down carefully in his crib, pulling the blanket up to his chin. I stumble back to my own bed, for tomorrow will come too quickly.