The Last Nap
I can see the signs. It's taking longer for the monitor to slow to hush from the babble of play to the mesmerizing hum of white noise. The talk time before the shut eye is stretching out, shrinking the total nap to a fade. We've soaked up his cluelessness until now, high-fived at at his unwitting submission to mid-day sleep, patted ourselves on our backs for our parenting prowess. Our kid sleeps.
It's not that we don't want to spend every waking minute with him. We do. Well, most of them. But he is the boy who did not sleep for the first year and a half of his life, who woke on the fifteen minute mark throughout the night and rocked, cuddled, nursed, snuggled, cried. And this, of course, is what we promise to do. We vow to rise to cries and latch to soothe, close our eyes and shh shh shh, the repetition grounding us in this moment of sleepless presence.
But for a year or so now, this boy has slept. Actually slept. We have been nap-trapped with the best of them, and it seems we are about to be set free. Not tomorrow and probably not even next month, but suddenly we will wake up and be taking impromptu trips to Market Basket midday, sneaking in a run before the bus gets home, joining and playing and doing because the nap has let go of the final fingertip. It is the last nap in this house. Beyond this toddling tornado that is Teddy, the only nappers will be us grownups someday, learning how to be in the quiet again, how to sleep in a silent house, how to rest when restlessness has blanketed our decades.
For now though, we 'll take the hour here, the hour there, whatever days remain of this badge of babyhood. We know he'll always be or littlest one, but we'll hold onto the nap as long as he'll let us. The last nap hovers, inevitable, but today the white noise hums as he tucks himself into a ball of boyhood, butt up high in the air, knees folded under, hard as a rock favorite elephant never more than a few inches away. Yeah, I'll take the nap trap.