My baby boy will not be much of a baby much longer. Now eleven months old, he is nice and chunky, eating more solid foods, crawling, and cruising. He is full of smiles, new teeth, and curiosity. He is such joy! Except. Except this child DOES NOT SLEEP. At 11 months, he wakes more often at night than a newborn! And it is taking its toll on this poor mama.
I was never one to feel comfortable letting my child “cry it out.” I have checked out many a sleep-aid book from the library. My husband has been so generous in volunteering to rock him, or pat him, or somehow soothe him back to sleep, but the baby still wants me. We have read that he most likely has not learned to put himself to sleep. Still, after so many efforts, he has not been an eager learner. He will fight and fight against sleeping! He will be completely out, but then still somehow force himself to sit up and begin crying all over again.
I tried to look at the situation through the eyes of faith. Many a time, awake in the middle of the night, I have felt called to pray for certain individuals. Because of my constant state of sleep deprivation, I have been reminded of how very weak I truly am. I have seen the need to call upon God’s grace, to live in the present moment, and hope and pray for His strength to cater to all my children throughout the next day.
However, this control freak does not like the constant disruptions night after night, week after week, month after month. Enough already! Fluctuating between trusting in God’s strength/perseverance and my own human desperation, I decided that “crying it out” was a must. The dark circles under my eyes were getting way too dark and there was only so much coffee my stomach could handle!
I would go in his room from time to time to make sure he knew that I was and will always be available for him. From past experience with an older child, I had learned that I am my children’s first influence on their image of God. I want them to trust that God hears their cries and is always loving and always present. But this kid could cry for hours! And he would only calm down when I came in and held him. He would grab my shirt and snuggle his little head on my shoulder. I was amazed at how convinced he was about his need for his mother!
And then it finally dawned on me. How convinced am I that I need my Blessed Mother? Am I clinging to Her for dear life? Do I trust Her presence? How many “nights” do I live calling out to Her? Not enough. Most times I am “sleeping” by myself, convinced that I do not need Her or barely paying attention to Her at all.
I suppose the dark circles are priceless if they can teach me to seek the arms of our Blessed Mother without ceasing, just as my son calls out for me. Although I do want my son to have healthy sleep patterns, my prayer is that we do not ever convince ourselves we do not need the arms of our Blessed Mother: “Thank you, God, for loving me so, so much (as I am, frustrated and all) and thank you Blessed Mama for being the mother of Jesus and my mom, too.”