As I lean in to kiss your cheek, you turn away. You shy away from touch and hate to be kissed by anyone. But that’s only when you’re awake.
Peacefully, you sleep. I wait for the moment when your breathing is more regular and the Sandman has swept you off to the land of dream-filled slumber. Only then can I lean in for a kiss and know you won’t shy away. And take advantage of it, I do.
At least 10 times a night, before I head off to bed, I sneak in to check on you and your brother.
I have to be careful with him. The slightest sound and he stirs, crying out and needing me to sit and pat his back until he nods off again.
But not you.
I can caress your beautiful locks of hair, falling across your pillow and you won’t bat an eyelid.
I can kiss your sweet cheek and know that you won’t pull away (it’s the only time since you moved from being a child to a tween).
I can tuck you in, pulling up the sheet or doona and know that you’ll sometimes grasp my hand and hold it for a moment. Part of a dream? Who knows.
I relish those moments when you’re not a self-conscious tween, worrying about who can see me kiss you. And I tell you I love you. Over, and over.
My sweet, sweet girl. I pray that you’ll always be this way if only in slumber.