The best activity ever for most parents.

We reached a fever-pitch of whining last night. The 7 year old: “That’s not fair! She gets to…” (insert whatever). And the 4 year old: “I want THIS book, not THAT book!” Ah, bedtime. And especially bedtime after a holiday weekend full of too many treats, too many late nights, and a whole lot of fun. By the time both kids were finally asleep, my husband and I looked at each other with knowing WTF expressions of exhaustion. Any plans for a just-us movie night or snuggles next to a backyard bonfire were dashed. Too tired, too late — it was understood that we, too, were going straight to bed. This morning, as my husband and oldest child dashed out the door for camp drop off, I was left with a few minutes of alone time while Lola, my 4 year old, slept in. (Cue dread for continuing the cycle of late bedtimes.) I crept into her room to put away some laundry, hoping to gently rouse her. My rustling barely stirred her. She turned in my direction and in one, quick unexpected moment, also took my breath away. There she was: beautiful. Peaceful. This was my chance, sans whining or drama to take in her little girl curls, her sweet sleeping-in-only-underwear body. And with her asleep, I could simply watch her. And touch her. And marvel at her miraculous perfection. I smoothed my hand over her soft belly, pet her head, and kissed her sweet cheeks. I counted each of her ribs, visible with each of her deep, sleeping breaths. Her cute little toes, still painted red from the 4th of July. Yes — how miraculous this being is: each part that’s unseen — heart, stomach, brain — all so very luckily, perfectly formed and working in sync with the kind of magic we take for granted every day. Watching one of my children sleep is a lot like a coming to the end of a fabulous yoga class. I’ve cut through the clutter and drama inside my mind and remain with only the essentials: the purity of my breath, a calm heart, and gratitude. Within that quiet, I can see what truly matters. Yes, just like peering in at one of my slumbering not-so-little-anymore babes. These are the moments that remind us to inhale a little deeper, to melt into the exhales, to remember that on the other side of those parenting growing pains, failures and frustrations, there are moments like this — ripe with simplicity and gratitude.

By Alisa Blackwood via


Leave a Reply