I don’t usually cuddle my little boy to sleep. Usually I stay by his cot as he chats and fusses and demands drinks of water and songs about reindeer on the bus and battles sleep for a long, long time. But tonight I found myself holding him as he fell asleep, and I have to say that it was all things lovely.
“Listen to the rain, Bubba!” I said as I carried him into his room. I held him in the darkness, listening to the rain and breathing him in. “I love cuddles,” I told him, and in response he wrapped his little arms tightly around my neck. And I realised that for once I didn’t want to put him in his cot. I thought about how happy and safe he must be feeling and what a privilege it was to be the one making him feel that way. I knew that this was a moment I didn’t want to end – not because it was grand or extraordinary in any way, but precisely because of its smallness. A little fleck of sweet and perfect time offered to me like a gift.
I didn’t want to put him in his cot because of the way his arms settled around my neck with such a quiet and trusting ease. Or maybe it was because of the curl of his ear pressed against my cheek. It could have been because his head fit perfectly into the curve beneath my jaw. Or it might have been the softness – oh the softness – of his skin.
During his waking hours, my little boy attacks life with a loud voice and a strong will and a well-honed talent for destruction. But now all the high emotion and frustration and energy of being an almost two-year-old quietened in my arms. He gave a contented sigh and his breathing slowed as he fell asleep.
It was a sentimental little moment in the scheme of life. But for some reason I felt compelled to write it here. Something tells me that one day – perhaps when my boy is a teenager and no longer hugs his mum as often or for as long – this is one of the small moments I will hold most dear.