It's 3am as I pace my long dark hallway. A little babe is tucked against my torso. Knees pulled up, arms curled tightly against his chest and pressing on my heart, his little head is cradled in the space between my shoulder and neck. His sweet milky breath is warm against my skin. Its not the first time we have walked down this hall with its creaky floorboards beneath us and walls alongside us that sigh with sleepiness and restless bones. We have been pacing for much of the night. The gentle vibration of my steps and my heartbeat against his body have become the only source to his slumber. In the depths of our exhausted minds and among desperate shushhhhs I begin to imagine my little baby, my son, as a grown man.
I begin to wonder what he will look like and who will comfort him in his times of need.
I pull him a little closer into me.
I wonder if there will be times in his life when he will need someone in the night to kiss his face, hold his body and tell him everything is going to be OK.
I breathe in his baby smell and keep pacing.
I wonder if he will ever feel loneliness and pace his own hallway one day. Searching for an answer or a guidance beyond this physical realm.
I kiss his little head a hundred times. Then a hundred more for the times I cant be there.
I wonder if he will ever lie awake at night battling his swirling thoughts and feel helpless. Silently crying out for help. For some comfort.
I rub his little back and sing a soothing lullaby that I hope echos in his mind forever.
I drift to a memory of seeing a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk. His face was pressed against the hard cold concrete and his body was supported by a paper thin blanket. His dark lashes twitched with dreaming. And, I wondered if his mother once held him warm and close. Whispering promises and murmurs of love. Where is she now? Or perhaps he has always slept alone, exposed and abandoned.
I tuck my sons feet into my dressing gown so he feels no cold. So his body is enveloped by me.
I wonder if he will know that I am always there for him and even as a tall, strong, grown man I will hold him, pace with him and speak kindness and hope into his soul.
For once I am not resentful towards this tiny nocturnal creature and his relentless night waking. In this moment I feel I could spend eternity holding his body and comforting him as we pace hallways engulfed in a quiet darkness. I tell him that as long as I am his mother he will never be alone. He will always have comfort in the dark times. I tell him that I love him, I love him, I love him. I tell him that in his darkness he will meet me. A young mother, tired but full of love, holding his weight with a strength that surpasses any emotional hurt or life's hard knocks. We will pace these long sometimes endless hallways together my son. Sleep now, you're safe and I'm here, always.