Tuesday, February 4, 2014

{Real Mom Life} Wake Up Calls

Maylin is generally a good sleeper.

We did sleep training when she was about 4 months old, and since then she's been a champ at sleeping through the night. 

However, this sister has woken three out of the last four nights, which is a stellar football record, but a terrible baby-sleep one. 

I could say that I'm a bit annoyed at her for interrupting my REM cycles, and probably would've been about six months ago, but honestly I'm not. I'm not annoyed at all. 

There's no feeling quite like the one I get when I'm awakened in the middle of the night by my baby's cry. This cry that she's been doing is very different from her middle-of-the-night-I'm-hungry-Mama cry that she had when she was littler. The cry that's woken me lately is more like a distressed, startled cry similar to, but not exactly like, the one I blogged about here. It makes my heart jump to my throat and squeeze a little bit in my chest while I shake the sleep from my brain and put my robe on so I can get up the stairs. And by the time I've scooped her up from her crib and planted us safely inside the arms of the glider, my heart is pounding and I'm out of breath. 

There's nothing in the world that can keep me from my baby when her cry is distressed. The force that drives me to get out of bed and up to the nursery is so strong I'm not sure I could be stopped.

I've been thinking about that as I've soothed and rocked her in the dark over the past several nights, curled up in a warm blanket together in a room illuminated only by the nightlight in the hall and the street lights coming through the closed blinds.

God is like that with us. When we are distressed, or startled, or maybe a little frightened He's immediately scooping us up in His arms, soothing our hearts and whispering comforting words to calm us down. There's no power in heaven or on earth that can keep Him from His children when they've cried to Him. 

Just like Maylin has different cries that I respond to in different ways, I believe our cries are different to God, too. It's something I've never considered before the past couple of days, but the more I think about it the more I'm convinced. Our distressed cry sounds different than our "hungry" cry, which sounds different from our "I need You cry," which is different from our "I'm sad" or "I'm hurting" or "I don't understand" cries. And God responds in a way that is unique to each one. 

As a mother, I use my discretion as to when and how to comfort Maylin when she's upset. Sometimes if she's bumped her head and I can tell she's not seriously injured, I let her get up and get going on her own with minimal assistance from me, and it's a lesson learned. Sometimes she doesn't need to be coddled, she needs to figure things out on her own to help her mature and learn life lessons. Other times when Maylin is upset in an aggravated way, like after I've told her "no," she doesn't need me to coo over her and baby her. She pushes me away and wants to be left alone until she's come to terms with the boundaries. I believe our Father responds to us in similar ways. He's always with us, but sometimes we don't need to be soothed and babied.  

Distress is different though. Psalm 120:1 promises that when we cry to Him in distress, He answers. Every time. He won't be stopped from reaching us. No matter what. His heart probably feels similar to mine when I hear Maylin's startled, middle-of-the-night cry when she's supposed to be sleeping safe and sound. I doubt that our cries ever catch Him off guard though. And He's with us faster than I can get my sleep-muddled, stumbling self up the stairs.

Another reason I haven't been annoyed at being woken in the middle of the night is I'm coming to the realization that Maylin's baby days are numbered. I now have far fewer baby days ahead of me with her that I do behind me. That's a sobering thought. So when I'm sitting up with her for an hour or two of uninterrupted time at night, all I can think is that I've been given the gift of having time for just her and me. Nobody else. No distractions. 

It's been a sweet, sweet couple of hours these past four nights. I hope that these are the nighttime moments I remember instead of the fussy ones. {Although I would also be okay with her just sleeping all through the night again, too.}

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