Let’s take a break from the dismal side of motherhood. The sleep deprivation, the subpar hygiene, the breastmilk-drenched everything. It must be nature’s hard work that ensures we don’t eat our young. Or times like this:
The bedroom is dark except for a soft-glowing, blue nightlight. I have Liam cradled in the crook of my arm with his legs curled around my waist. I’m bouncing gently up and down on the exercise ball. (Have a baby but don’t have an exercise ball? Get one.) Liam’s eyes are closed and he is sucking casually on his pacifier. (Only so that I can relieve my chapped body parts from his Hoover-like suction lips…for like five minutes.) I’m peering down at that peaceful little face in the dark when his free arm flies up. A little bit like he was just posessed by an other-world spirit, but cuter.
His hand lands on my cheek and, still with his eyes closed, his fingers float lightly around the contours of my face. They crawl up to my eye, slide down again to pet my cheek and then hook gently into my mouth, hanging from my lower lip. His arm continues to move like a marionette about my face with his fingers always coming to a rest on my lips.
It’s as if the baby was learning my face. Or running his fingers over it in a comforting way. Maybe he already knows my face from any other face and he was fingering it in the same way some babies rub their blankies to worn and loved shreds.
Regardless, the touch of my baby’s fingers on my face makes me melt into time. Suddenly it doesn’t matter how quickly I wanted to get him to sleep so that I could make myself a cup of tea. Instead I pull him in just a little bit tighter and close my eyes to remember the weight of his little body in my arms and the loving feel of his fingers brushing my face.