It’s 2am. The wind outside has been whipping up a storm and the rain is clattering the window. It’s a dark dark night, the kind that feels cold when you stick your foot out from under the duvet.
Baby can’t sleep. He’s been crying and agitated all night, sleeping fitfully but then waking with a pained and broken scream. Each time I go in to comfort him, it seems to take an age and all the child care gurus in the world probably can’t help me on this one. Patting and soothing; shushing; pick up put down. They work for a little while but forty minutes later he wakes with that painful scream again. This is not a well baby. He’s pulling (yanking) at his ear but turns his head away quickly if you go anywhere near it. Ear infection. My poor little man. And every time I lay him on his back it’s agony for him.
I pick him up, wrap him under my dressing gown with me and sit down in the big comfy chair in his nursery. I keep him upright but leant against me and he seems to slowly slowly settle. He’s exhausted. And as I stroke his head and rock him slowly to sleep, I start whispering to him. Telling him a story. The story of him- of his great grandads and grandmas- what they did in the war and how I remember them. Of his grandparents and their marvelous adventures around the globes. Of myself and his Dad, what we have done and our story up til now. Of his uncles and aunts and cousins. And of him and what we hope of for the future. That we hope we give him a childhood of magic and dreams and puddle jumping and fishing with sticks and pretending to be superheroes. That we want him to be happy and live a life of positive purpose but to do it in the way he wants. That we will be here for him when things go horribly wrong and wonderfully right. And we will love him, no matter what.
And as I sit with my son, who smells of formula and baby bath, and we both gradually fall asleep, I have never been happier.