Sleep Like A Baby


My mom told me once,

ten yeas before I became a mother myself,

that were I to ever have kids,

to take a moment,

if it had been a hard day,

to watch them sleep. 

She said doing so

would melt the day’s struggles 

back into love. 


At eighteen or so

I was surprised to learn

that sometimes 

she needed such moments 

with me. 

In that moment

I saw her as a person,

not just Mom.  

And I saw a new window 

into all the ways she loved me. 

For she was more than just my mom

and still she loved me.  




After the divorce 

I still had to spend 

every other Saturday night

at my father’s house

even though I didn’t want to. 

I slept on the couch 

in the living room. 

On occasion 

I would wake

to him standing there

camera in hand. 

I always hated 

when he took pictures of me,

but those were always the worst. 

Never indecent,

and yet

I felt over exposed. 


I am glad he’s dead. 




You know what?

The phrase “sleep like a baby”

is some straight up


My oldest did not sleep

in any sort of reliable way 

for the first fifteen months of her life. 

I thought I was going to die. 

from sleep deprivation 

and uncertainty

and the anxiety

of never knowing 


or for how long 

I might be able to be more

than just Mom

and escape back into myself 

while she slept. 




The younger one,

born on the larger side,

always slept just fine. 


Of course I don’t have a favorite,

but I was healed 

by his easy sleep. 




And now, 

here I am

a mother myself,

and sometimes I can’t help

but grab my phone

to take a picture of each

before I wake them up for school. 

They are unspeakably beautiful

in that moment

at the threshold 

between sleep

and morning. 


I’m glad I take after my mother.