Checking On Him

by Ginger on April 9, 2013

in Mom Thoughts

I used to check on J at night, watching for him to take his next breath.

He has never been a noisy sleeper–even as an infant he was silent, his breath a whisper I had to strain to hear. Sometimes, I would hold my own breath in an attempt to hear him, to reassure me in my post-partum haze that he was still there. Sometimes I’d place my hand, oh so lightly, on his chest to feel the slight rise and fall. Sometimes I would just stand and stare at him, willing him to sigh, or turn over, or anything that gave me an indication that he was still breathing.

As he got older, and my fear stopped making such obvious visits, I stopped checking for his breath, but I still went in to check on him nightly. I’d check to make sure he had his blanket, or that he hadn’t gotten a leg stuck in a crib slat, or that he didn’t have a pacifier under his cheek, or just, honestly, because I wanted one more look at him that night. I would brush his cheek with my finger, brush a curl away from his eye, just to touch him.  Sometimes I would just stand and stare at him, just to see him quiet and at peace, and with the magical innocent sleep of a child.

He went through a phase where he was sleeping on top of  books and toys, so I started going in to check on him before bed to make sure there were no hard plastic corners poking him in the back, or hardback books digging into his neck. I would slowly pull the offending item away from him, and smooth his blankets, and brush his hair back, and marvel at how much more of the full size bed he was taking up.

There are fewer and fewer reasons for me to go check on him before I go to bed. He mostly puts his books and toys to the side when he goes to sleep. He knows how to pull up his blanket. He is more likely to wake up if I’m in there for any period of time. I’m more likely to trip over a toy or book on my way in.

But still, I find myself pulled to his door. I find myself slowly turning the knob, trying to keep the *click* it makes as quiet as possible. I find myself trying to quietly make my way to his bed.

I find myself standing and staring at him.

I find myself straightening his blanket.

I find myself marveling at how big he looks.

I find myself marveling at how small he looks.

I find myself reaching out to stroke his cheek.

I don’t know how many more nights I have. I don’t know when I’ll stop closing the door at night, and he’ll start, and I’ll have to respect that boundary. I don’t know when my nights of checking on him will end.

So for now, I slip into that dark room, and I take my moment that is really just for my heart, and I’m grateful.

shell flower April 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Aw. Such a sweet post. My son turned 18 recently and those days seem so long ago. I’m pretty sure he’s checking in on me now, making sure I’m okay while Dad is out of town. Coming home saying, “it’s just me, go back to sleep.” They grow up so fast.

Cheryl April 9, 2013 at 8:18 pm


Yes, to all of the above. I do every single thing you just said! I move babies that cry from under R so they don’t wake her, lay my hand on her tummy to feel it move up and down, then walk into B’s room, step on Lego, move action figures off his pillow and pull his blankets up. It’s the one time you can watch them and be completely at peace, in love and heartbroken all at the same time.

Lisa April 10, 2013 at 7:01 am

I know this re-posted, but I’m glad it did because I love this post 🙂

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