3:07 am. I’ve been awake for two hours. All is quiet. Occasionally broken up by long rhythmic breaths next to me. Stronger ones to my left. Mini ones in the crib to my right.
All is quiet at 3:07 am. Sometimes broken with creaks caused by air rushing through vents. Creaks that once frightened me when I didn’t know this house so well. The sudden stillness when the heating system pauses, and the familiar revs it makes starting up again.
I’m up because my body thinks it’s 9:07am. Finally the house sleeps, and I catch a few moments of solace to reflect upon the night before.
I hadn’t heard those screams since she was in her earlier months of life. Gutwrenching screams that come with uncomfortable gas. Gas brought on by lapping up garlic mashed potatoes I had fed her. In between bites, she flashed toothy potato-filled grins at both grandma and grandpa sitting across the table from her, and then turned to me for more.
Deep laughter flooded over from the other end of the table. Siblings. Mine. Cackling over something as always. That bullshit detecting cackling that always grounds each of us.
Someone called my name. “LOLLAAAA!” in a little shrill voice. I turned to my little niece. She gave me her own toothy grin and turned back down to her crayons and crinkled paper. Teaching her to add “Aunty” seemed futile at that point.
Two sons-in-law at the table with us. One in a leg brace. The other, my husband, nursing a neck and shoulder injury. Earlier, we’d teased about sending both sons-in-law to pick up our dad in their physical states.
Half the table had flown in from two continents, meeting on the third continent. We battled various stages of jetlag, but we were there. Together. Complete. We realized this privilege. This blessing.
So she screamed her lungs out. The gas was painful. Brought on by a strange new food. I wasn’t worried. I was thankful. Grateful in fact.
All is quiet now. The clock reads 3:27 am. Deep breaths beside me continue. Exhausted, relaxed, re-energizing. I trust the same renewing deep breaths are being taken in rooms above ours. Sisters, parents.
I’m grateful because I trust fully. Because all I have is my faith. Our very next breath. The depth of my thanksgiving this holiday season.