I love being a mother, and I love my sweet son. I love that, ever since birth, he has been a fairly good sleeper, and even has slept the whole night through on some occasions. I guess I've gotten pampered, because when he decided to stop sleeping well a few days ago, I thought I was going to lose my mind. I grabbed a book about sleep from the library and hammered out some good, achievable goals with my husband. On Friday night, my husband successfully put Peter to sleep for the night without me, and I was so refreshed the next day. I was hoping that we could duplicate that experience, but on Saturday night, my husband was out of town and I learned that solo parenting at bedtime is rough. After an hour and a half of trying-and failing-to get Peter down for the night, I sighed and brought him back to the living room for more playtime.
It was midnight, we had been up since 9 a.m., and the only real nap that Peter had taken all day was a 45 minute-long snooze while he was strapped to my back during the early afternoon. I was exhausted and hungry and needed to pull through somehow. So, I made quesadillas.
Peter hadn't really been interested in solid food, until yesterday. He sampled my afternoon snack, and at dinnertime we feasted on avocado slices. So, I now sat on the floor next to Peter with a couple of quesadillas. I took a bite. He craned his head forward, chomping his teeth eagerly. I offered him a piece and his tiny fingers eagerly grabbed it. We sat there for the next several minutes, eating quesadillas together.
A peaceful midnight aura settled over the apartment as we grasped the crunchy, buttery tortillas. I put my exhaustion behind me, deciding to simply enjoy myself and make the best of the situation. We laughed. I talked, and Peter babbled. We had so much fun together. As we ate our quesadillas at midnight, I thought about how this wasn't in my ideal picture of the evening.
I had anticipated putting him to bed and drifting off to sleep myself much earlier. But as I looked at my nearly 8-month-old, his grin showing off several glimmering white teeth, I realized that these days are numbered. Yes, we both need regular sleep, but just this one time, the deviation from the hoped-for routine was fantastic. It showed me the precious gift of enjoying spontaneous, unexpected, ordinary moments.
We can organize activity nights and fun events with the expectation that we'll be creating beautiful family memories, but sometimes I think we can fail to enjoy ourselves if we hold too tightly onto what our planned vision was. Last night reminded me that sometimes, unplanned moments are the greatest gift.