A mid-slumber whimper, a cry: “Mommy hold Maya.”
I glance at the clock. It’s 6:45 a.m. On a Sunday. Since I wake up for the gym most mornings at 5:15, in my head, I think some expletives; Sunday is literally my only day of the week to “sleep in” til 7:30 a.m. But my daughter is calling. And there’s no way I would miss an opportunity to hold her close to me.
Knowing I still feel like crap, Luis changes her; brings her to bed with us. I know she’s long past the baby stage, but still her sweet baby smell fills the room. She looks around in the dark, suddenly aware of where she is. “Mommy daddy BED.” I nod, now fully awake. “Maya bed Maya room,” she informs us. Indeed, sweetheart. Indeed. She asks for milk; I dutifully get out of bed and bring it to her.
She drinks slowly — as she eats — and all we hear is her sucking it down, in between heavy breaths — the breaths I still listen for each night at her door before I go to bed.
Ten minutes later she is squirming around, ready to play — but I know she is still tired. I can see it in her eyes — glassy, droopy.
Luis tries to snuggle her close, but she resists his embrace. “Mommy hold Maya!” For now, I’m the preferred parent. Which could change tomorrow.
She pushes him away, crawls up to my chest and — as she has done a thousand times before — collapses to sleep the moment she makes contact with my shoulder. Deep, even breaths, whispering into my neck.
As a newborn, she rooted for food and would conk out on me at most feedings. Now, her needs are different. I am not her provider of nourishment, but rather comfort. Nourishment of a different kind. I am Mommy.
We all drift back to sleep, our little family of three.
An hour later, she pops her head up, disrupting the quiet calm Sunday brings. “Play puzzles?”
And just like that, our Sunday snuggle is over. Our boisterous little girl is ready for playtime.
I cherish each of these moments. She is growing up before our eyes — independent, assertive (read as: bossy) — and she won’t always want to be my snuggle bunny.