There is nothing quite as sweet as your sleeping child.

Even the big ones with long hairy legs hanging over the end of the bed, Dorito crumbs sitting ever so lightly on the lip, I-Phone snuggled close enough to make a mother worry about radio waves.  There is something magical about being awake as your child sleeps.

And as parents we are awake in more ways than one.

We are awake to experiences, challenges, memories and possibilities that those sweet drooling offspring may someday encounter.  We are awake to our own worry that they might be disappointed in some way.  And we are awake to the knowledge that we cannot control any of it.  We can simply be there to support, care for, sometimes say no to, celebrate with and love.

When we watch them sleep as infants, it is with the admiration one might bestow upon Mahatma Ghandi.  What perfection.  How amazing that they know how to breathe in and out.  And that face!  Never before has there been a more perfect nose, curve to the forehead and delicate complexion.

When we watch our children sleep we remember how lucky we are to be given the responsibility for these little humans.

And it is the gratitude that we store up during those moments of watching them sleep, that we draw upon to endure the colicky, up every 20 minutes, constant diaper changing, screaming at the top of her lungs nights when we would happily give our left ovary plus our stash of chocolate covered espresso beans, for a full 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

As they grow, there is still magic to the peace that surrounds their sleep.

We watch them and hope that sleep might heal the hurts that happen on the elementary school play-ground and heal the argument we had with them last night about curfew.   And we hope that sleep will provide lots of time for dreaming of a wonderful future.

Slowly, our children wake up more to their surroundings.

It’s no wonder that as teenagers, they luxuriate in sleep.  When they are awake they are becoming aware of their world and all the possibilities and responsibilities that await.  It is because their future’s so bright, that they have to draw their shades and go back to sleep, for just a little more.

And again, watching them sleep as teenagers we get another chance to be awake.  We marvel at their evolution and try to remember how they got so big.  We wonder how they became so talented and notice how excited we are to watch them begin lives in earnest. 

It is during this time that we store up the patience for dealing with the boundary pushing and sassy attitudes that accompany decision making proving everything we have learned about the teenage brain.

So much is possible, if we can just stay awake.

Coach Me Quick Tips for Staying Awake While Your Children Sleep:

  1. Stop at least once in each day and observe your child.  Notice something wonderful.
  2. Tell your child what you noticed, no matter how large or small.
  3. Use your role as a parent as an excuse to slow down and smell the roses.

Wide and Awake in L.A.,


Photo credit: a.powers-fudyma via Compfight