It doesn’t matter how many times I encourage you to stay in your room, you always find your way to me in the night. This touches my mother’s heart in a way that I can’t explain. A weight of reassurance fills me when I find you huddled under my blankets in the morning.
The light from the bathroom washes over you. Your arm is flung across my pillow, and your legs stretch almost to the end of the bed. Your hair is splayed across the pillow making it appear longer than it really is. Your head is tilted back, and from this angle it seems you have aged overnight.
I stand between the light and the shadows and wonder if somehow I’ve managed to sleep through the last ten years, and that maybe now you are eighteen instead of eight. My breath catches in my lungs as I think of lost time. It slips so fast through my fingers, and I know that one day you will be eighteen, and that it will seem like I’ve slept away the years.
I know that I am being ridiculous, but the urge to reassure myself that it is still your eight year old face has me walking softly to the head of the bed. I’m careful to avoid tripping over the piles of laundry waiting to be folded or washed and a laptop cord snaking across the floor.
I smile as I see that the roundness of childhood still shapes your cheeks. The button nose you were born with is still in place. I have not missed it. Sleep did not steal you from me. For today, you are still my baby girl.