My darling child, when I was still carrying you within my swollen belly you decided, in my third trimester, that this Mumma should not sleep at night, but rather should experience the irritating twitches and sparkles of restless legs. I would often get out of my bed in exasperation and head into your nursery, plop myself into the glider and rock, and rock, and rock…hand resting on my belly where I could feel you and beg you to let your Mumma rest. This movement calmed my jumpy legs and my frustrated thoughts, eventually wearing me out enough that I could return to my bed and collapse into sleep at last.
On the day of your birth your father and I, alone together in the delivery room, would chat about your arrival until a contraction would come, always five minutes apart, and your Daddy would embrace me in a waltz as we would sway and sway. Or I would sit in the room’s rocking chair and rock, and rock vigorously until the wave passed. The nurses eventually brought me a birthing ball, and on this I would continue the rocking and swaying that helped me through each contraction.
When you were our infant, and you had day and night reversed, I would cradle you in my arms and pace and sway and gently bounce you as we sashayed through our apartment. On those nights too, I would beg you to rest as my legs grew sore from our dance. Eventually your father would return home from work and take over for me, bouncing you in his tired arms until you would finally fall asleep.
As you transitioned into your own crib the glider became our nightly ritual. Rocking and rocking and waiting until your limbs grew limp and it was safe to attempt to lower you down to the mattress without you waking to starting the rocking over again.
And tonight, my sick little one, when I crept in to your room to wake you for your next dose of medicine, feeling the heat of your skin against my own, I stood with you in my arms, your head on my chest and we resumed the swaying. We continued this dance on the emergency room bed, while we waited for the doctor to return, back and forth, back and forth, your head on my chest and your limbs wrapped around my body.
I know this rhythm will return, and we will resume our swaying and rocking on many nights like these. Our dance will continue whenever we need it to soothe us. It is a ritual we both need from time to time.