Every night that I put Hazel down to sleep is a spiritual experience. People who tell me, "You shouldn't rock her to sleep because then she will always want to be rocked to sleep," are missing out on the most intimate, beautiful moments. I hold Hazel in my arms after I feed her and we just rock and gaze at each other. She and I are so calm and relaxed, and our breath falls in sync. She reaches up and touches my face and I drink in her smell. Her eyes get heavier and start to droop and cross...it's so adorable. Lately, she has been clutching a baby washcloth when she falls asleep and she rubs it on her eyes. She starts working less and less on her pacifier (I call it her sucker; I hate the word "binky",) and as she drifts off, it falls out of her mouth. She sleeps with her mouth open a lot these days. We rock and her head lolls back and forth. I love these moments because she feels so safe and secure, and that puts me at peace.
This is when I start to think about all the mamas in the world, rocking their babies to sleep tonight, too. I think about all the mamas who don't have their babies tonight. Mamas in Iraq and Afghanistan who rock their babies fearfully. Mamas whose babies are sick, who stay up watching their babies sleep, wondering if tonight is the night. Mamas who rock, but don't know where their babies are at bedtime, if they are safe, if they are scared, if they are alive. I think about mamas who rock and wonder how they are going to feed their babies tomorrow. I think about all the mamas who don't feel the peace that I feel when I'm rocking Hazel, and I try to send it to them.
So when people tell me that If I keep rocking Hazel she will always want to be rocked, I think, "I can only hope so."