i went to this recipe blog post expecting to read the recipe for cinnamon roll cupcakes. never having been to this particular food blog before, i was not ready to read an actual emotional blog.

i started reading it, and it hit me like a sack of bricks.

i’m not a stepmom, obviously, so reading something like this from her point of view was refreshing. most of the blogs i read are food blogs or mommy blogs or straight up nerd blogs. this was a welcomed change of pace.

it made me appreciate tonight even more.

tonight, for whatever reason, caylin had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. she might be teething again–not sure. lately she’s been waking up once a night, if that. i usually bring her downstairs, warm up her bottle. hang out for a few minutes. feed her a couple of her puff snacks. carry her back upstairs, and tuck her back in.

tonight, she woke up 3 times. once right when i got home from running. brett was lifting weights in the garage and i left the baby monitor in there with him. she didn’t have an afternoon nap today so she actually went to bed at 8, instead of the 8:45 that it has been for the past few weeks. so i actually got to run outside–a rare treat.

side bar: i love running around this neighborhood, for some reason. it feels so NICE. neighbors are always out and about, everyone says hello, kids everywhere. it’s awesome.

anyway, i actually got to go on a run this evening. i finished up, walked into the garage, and the baby monitor lit up. caylin was bawling. i walked upstairs, despite being drenched in sweat. i carried her from her crib and plopped her onto our bed.

when she wakes up in the middle of the night, i like to give her quiet little “activities” to do to calm her down. the other night she sorted all her bottles/bottle caps/rubber bottle top thingies for like 10 minutes. she loves sorting out my box full of biore strips that i never use (they’re in crinkly noisy plastic wrappers, and they’re shiny). so tonight i handed her about 10 coins. she has never played with coins before, but they’re shiny and noisy, and she had a pacifier so i wasn’t worried about her trying to eat them.

i put her on the bed with the coins and, oh my god, she went nuts. she started banging them around, sorting them out, and then placing them delicately on my phone. over and over. it was so cute. her little mouth and cheeks all poofed out with a look of sheer concentration.

i let this go on for about 10-15 minutes, scooped her up, and put her back to bed. she got upset when i first picked her up because she didn’t want to stop playing, but calmed down once we got into the nursery.

less than an hour later, she was up again. repeat the last few paragraphs.

an hour later, repeat. you get the idea.

to loop back to the link i posted, i, too, often boast about how great caylin is about sleeping. how fortunate we are to get the amount of needed rest and relaxation we enjoy every night, and have since she was born. she is an absolute angel.

but… despite that, i almost wish it wasn’t that way. nights like tonight, while they dip into your “me-time”, are so worth it, and then some. when those tears are flowing down those little cheeks, when i hear that cry on the baby monitor, my heart sinks. i immediately get a lump in my throat. my stomach does somersaults. it physically pains me to hear her crying. there have been a few times when it brought me to tears. you can’t help it. but the times i get to carry her out of her crib and rock her back to sleep, or play with her just a little bit longer, you get lost in the moment. it is amazing, and emotional, and it makes me so incredibly happy to be fortunate enough to hang out with the cutest little face i’ve ever laid eyes on.

fast forward about 15 minutes…

as soon as i finished writing the last paragraph, the baby monitor lit up again and caylin was just wailing.

it doesn’t matter if it interrupts whatever you’re doing.

nothing is more important or more fun or more COMPLETELY fulfilling than cuddling that half-asleep, tear-soaked, bed-headed bundle of joy. absolutely nothing.

soak it in, no matter how frustrating it has been in the past. no matter what kind of mood you were in. soak. it. in.

i know i will miss this.

i already do.