I pray over her as she stares into the shadows; it always feels like she can see things there that I can't. Then her eyes shift, catch mine, and I whisper her name into the lamplight.
It's three o'clock in the morning now. We've been cuddling and watching, whispering and nursing for the past hour. She is silent, just taking it all in, and I'm the same as I take her in, this tiny new thing laying in front of me. I am captivated.
Her brothers breathe softly from their places on the floor; her daddy is asleep beside us. I feel nearly selfish to be sitting here enjoying her while everyone else sleeps. I want to wake them up, look at her tiny feet, marvel over her softness with them. She is beyond belief; they always are, these tiny ones, but it's new all over again for me.
I gently massage her from head to toe. She lies there, still silent, then softly unfurls when I get to her legs. I continue, her calf, her foot, each toe. Then I apologize - I need to change your diaper, sweet girl - and for the first time, she doesn't cry while I do.
It's four o'clock now and the faintest bit of light is beginning to come in through the blinds. She nurses once again and I watch her until, at last, she drifts off to sleep. She'll wake again before morning but only to nurse; our time of silent conversation is done for tonight.
Four nights so far and these two hours have been just for us. She doesn't sleep but doesn't cry either, just lays with me and watches, listens. And I cherish it.
So I'm writing it down because I know one night I'll be tired and I'll just want her to sleep, just sleep, baby girl, and maybe then I'll remember these words. Maybe I'll remember how precious these silent moments are, just the two of us watching each other in the lamplight. And the lost sleep will become both my sacrifice and my joy, both privilege and responsibility, both worship and blessing.
One night, these sleepless hours together will be our last, and I won't even know it at the time. She'll sleep through them the next night and I will miss them even as I eagerly accept the extra sleep of my own.
Until then, I will cherish these quiet dark hours with her.