“...tiny fingers curled around mine
-- Eagle Song (Russ and Tori Taff)
Babies are amazing. Even when they sneeze, slobber and throw up on you. :-) Even when, in an instant, they change from smiles to tears and ear piercing wails. Even when they shiver and you know they have wet the diaper you just changed. Even when they look up into your face with such trust and adoration. Even when they coo and burble and stick their tongues out at you.
There are about three and a half years between my two youngest sisters. By the time Sara entered the family, Ruth had passed from babyhood on to little girlhood. To be quite honest, I had forgotten a lot about what it's like to have a baby around 24/7. :-) But Sara is awakening instincts and memories in me that I had forgotten existed.
You thought I was just kidding about those mosquitoes, didn't you? Well, I was only kidding a little. :-) Martha, Ellie and myself have abandoned our room at nights because the mosquitoes were finding a way in and terrorizing us while we tried to sleep. I actually got bit on the end of the nose. :-P One night, after killing fifteen mosquitoes and seeing three or four others buzzing around the room, Ellie gave up and migrated to the living room. Three minutes later, Martha and I fled to join her. We've been sleeping in the living room ever since. Most nights, it's comfortable in here. But on Saturday night, there were several of the little beasts buzzing around our haven of rest. I woke up at 2 am with one busy on my forehead. I didn't get much sleep after that because I killed four and no sooner was I dosing off, more would come about me. For crying out loud! There are three other victims in this room! Why me? If that's a compliment, it is one I can do without. :-P
Anyway, last night, I kept thinking I was hearing that high pitched buzzing and couldn't relax. It was about 11:20 or so and I'd been laying there, sleepless, for about an hour and a half. Listening to everyone snore isn't my idea of a fun time. But that's what I was doing. Then Sara started stirring and making enough noise to let whoever was awake know that she was and would someone please come get her? :-) So I did. Mom hadn't gotten much sleep the night before because Sara kept waking up stuffy from the cold she has. Besides that, I was awake and Mom needs lots more rest than I do.
Funny how wide awake a person can be in bed but when you're trying to put the baby to sleep, your eyelids want to droop and it just about takes tooth-picks to prop them open. Needless to say, Miss Sara was wide awake and very happy. She loves how the night-light makes the house feel spooky and kept watching the shadows march across the walls. The wind and rain combined with snoring made the appropriate sound effects. As I paced back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room, she kept twisting her head around, looking at those shadows (they were on the ceiling, too!) that were threatening to jump out at us, then grinning up at me as if to say, “Isn't this great? This time of night is so perky!” I kept whispering to her about going to sleep and sweet dreams but she would just grin at me again and grab the tie on my sweatshirt hood.
After a few minutes, I gave up any thoughts of sleep and began enjoying myself. After all, who gets this kind of opportunity to put their little sister to sleep in the middle of the night? Not many! And it's a special time. Time for snuggling, watching shadows, listening to the rain, telling baby how sweet she is, for praying... that God would guide this child through life. Keep her safe but mature her; keep her pure but teach her; maintain her joy but give her wisdom.
She's so sweet. I love the baby smell: sweet with a little sour, clean with a little dirty, small with a little big. I can't explain it, exactly. And I love how she looks up at me with that trust in her eyes and that wry humor that only Sara and Naomi understand. I love how she yawns and droops onto my shoulder for a moment. (Don't you love it when when babies yawn so big that it takes up three quarters of their face? I do. It's so cute.) I love how she is determined to not fall asleep. I love how she grabs my braid and snuggles her face into it. I love how she uses my sweater for a tissue before I realize that her nose is running. (She is so good about letting me wipe her nose. I remember trying to wipe Uriah's nose when he was a baby and it was a major operation: one person for his arms, one for his legs and three for his head.)
As these thoughts run through my mind, I realize that the small bundle of joy I am holding isn't wiggling as much. And she's yawning once every five seconds. Suddenly, she simply leans forward, rests her face on my chest and relaxes. Holding my breath, I manage to peek at her face.
Eyes closed... 11:36 pm... I love being a big sister. :-)
I'm not sure even a mosquito could wake me up now. :-) :-)