Her sharp scream made me sit up straight out of a dead sleep. I shuffled out of bed and down the hall to her room.
“Mommy, I have to go potty!” she choked out in a muffled cry as hot tears rolled down her red, chubby cheeks. I picked her up and walked her over to the bathroom and sat her down on the toilet.
As she sat there and started to come to, her little shaky voice suddenly grew clear. “I love you, Mommy,” she mumbled, as she smiled and finished her business.
“I love you too, baby,” I smiled as I wiped her bottom. I pulled her Minnie Mouse panties back up and carried her back to her bed, laying her down and brushing the hair from her face. She smiled as she drifted back off to sleep.
No sooner had I stood back up when I heard another cry from another room, “Mommy!” I shuffled across the hall and crept over to my other daughter’s bed. “Mommy, I’m just scared can you lay with me?” So I crawled into bed next to her. She, too, smiled as I brushed the hair from her face and kissed her head. “I love you, Mommy,” she whispered.
“I love you, too, baby,” I said as I re-tucked the covers back over her shoulders. And just like that, she was already back asleep.
I made it down the hallway and back into my bed. I hadn’t quite pulled up the covers when the baby stirred in the bassinet next to me. His stirring turned to a cry, and my let down signaled that it was time for me to get up with him, too. I picked that baby up and began to nurse him, singing a midnight lullaby, swaying back and forth in the middle of the room. He soon finished his middle of the night meal with a tiny burp and a long sigh, gently patting my chest as he drifted back off to sleep, as if to say, “I love you, Mommy.”
“Oh sweet baby, I love you, too,” I whispered as I stroked his tiny face, continuing to sway, my nightgown flowing in the shadows of the night.
These middle of the night meetings, these chopped up sleepless nights…. they are nothing short of exhausting. But we are chosen for them, aren’t we mama friend? This is the sacred call of midnight; the cries we were created to respond to, the finding of our strength in the shadows of the night. And how blessed are we to be told so many times in the middle of one night just how loved and needed we are.
So go into the darkness and answer your call tonight, mama. And know just how loved you truly are.