According to the experts, as a mother I frequently mess up. According to me, however, some things I am doing just as intended. Take the sleeping business.
I love to rock my babies to sleep. (In this case, babies encapsulates a broad definition of age. I've been known to rock even humongous kids to sleep.) I love to hold one in my lap with my arms wrapped all the way around--she is enveloped by me. There is no safer place in all the world. As I rock and quietly sing or hum a lullaby, (a love song, more often than not) I gently brush the hair off of her face. My hand can't resist stroking the soft, warm cheek. My heart fills, sometimes to bursting, with love for that beautiful creature. This same creature that I may have wanted to offer as a sacrifice to the gods earlier in the day, now, still. Now, submissive. Now, needing her mama. Any frustration fades as I take in the long lashes that grace the rosy cheeks and kiss the forehead whose bumps and bruises attest to the day hard fought. All the personal sacrifice required to raise the babe becomes a thing of naught as her body melts into sleep and the very core of my maternity is satisfied. The time comes, as it always does, that I must lay her down. While I understand the need, I loathe the moment.
In a profession where gratitude and reward come in uneven and random spurts, why would I deny myself the joy of holding my baby while she sleeps? Yes, it takes extra time. Yes, she wakes up at two in the morning wondering what she is doing out of my arms. Yes, it means there are often more than Mom and Dad in Mom and Dad's bed.
But nothing is more quieting to a ruffled soul than a sleepy child, crawling into your lap, to receive that succor that only you can give.