Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Night Duty

The sun rises early in Seattle these days. 3:45am to be exact. I know because at 3:07 am on Sunday morning my son crept into my room, croaking: “Momma…I can’t breathe,” followed by the low, raspy sounds that I’ve come to recognize at once as a mother. My son has Pneumonia. Again. It’s the 3rd time this year. 4 years ago, his lungs were damaged from a bout with RSV, and his doctor warned us this would happen often. Someday, he’ll outgrow it.

But on that night, in that moment, my momma superpowers must return:

I calmly but purposefully get out of bed with amazing clarity of mind considering the hour, and am even able to find my bathrobe instantly amidst many loads of laundry left undone. I am able to find not just my bathrobe, but two…another to wrap my boy in as I whisk him outside into the cold, healing night air. I deftly grab his favorite blanket off the couch as we head out the door to sit on a small wooden bench on the back patio. We live well outside the city limits, and we are alone with the sounds of his wheezing, the darkness of the night hanging heavily in the air, and the miracle of a canopy of stars. We sit in silence for many moments, his breathing becoming normal, his body twisting awkwardly in my lap trying to get comfortable. He’s almost outgrown it.

“Mom, I can only see two stars,” he says. “Just wait”, I say, “Your eyes will get used to it, and you may have to look past the trees.” We live surrounded by the famed tall cedars of the northwest, and they cast a formidable shadow.

Soon, the magic of this moment is fully revealed. “Mom!” he rasps, “I see 4…5…6..!” He keeps counting until he realizes the futility of his effort. We revel in wonder as the night air continues to heal my boy, and open our hearts.

And then, almost imperceptibly, the first streak of dawn arrives. And instantly, magically, a bird sings the first melody of the day. Another calls back. And within moments the forest around us is wide awake. We get the feeling all the birds are frantically calling for each other, finding their friends, getting their bearings, making sure they are not alone.

My boy and I snuggle up tighter under the blanket for a few moments longer, both of us giggling at the thought of the birds talking to one another in such animated voices at such an ungodly hour. But, actually, “ungodly” is the furthest thing from the truth of this moment.

For now, my son is healed, breathing easy. We have seen the miracle of another day arrive, so early this time of year. And I am reminded of just how much of the magic of life I am sleeping through. To be honest, I can’t tell you with a straight face that I will ever adopt the practice of waking with the sun. (Except in December when the sun comes up at 8:00am.) But, in that moment, my son and I were totally and completely engaged with the ultimate NOW. The warmth of each other snuggled together under the handmade blanket, the smell of his hair mixed with nighttime forest air, the surprise of hidden stars, and the busy calls of the creatures who share our forest with us fill our souls with contentment not easily found in the light of day.

If I truly wake up, I’ll be able to see that every moment is just as magical as this. Miracles of life and breath, of abundance, of connection with souls I hold dear both near and far. The miracle of technology which allows you and I to “meet” each day, this internet that’s become our global water cooler, allowing us to find our tribe flung far and wide.

The magic is always there. When I turn my attention to those things that bring me peace, I am never disappointed to find that they are always there waiting for me to notice, to remember, to savor.

My eyes just have to get used to the light (and darkness) of each day.

Keep a special eye out today for the magic in your life. Find ways to bless someone when they least expect it.

Be the magic.


  1. such beautiful writing...and i LOVE the new template!

  2. So very lovely. ♥

  3. As i sit here awaiting my babe, with tears streaming down my face i am SO VERY GRATEFUL to you for the reminder of what being in the now with our lives and children means. I have the most amazing vision to carry me thru this day and new eyes for my boys (and babe to be). Just breathtaking writing! oh, and i hope we meet someday. Anna said you were possibly in my tues yoga class?? I'm the one with the big belly??? :)

  4. A moment of grace, captured in words. Beautiful.

  5. Thank you everyone! Tiffany, yes, I was hiding in the back row. :) Next time I'll introduce myself! Hope you have a wonderful birth, and soon! :)

  6. I'm deeply touched!
    Thank you for sharing!!

  7. thanks for your beautiful writing, your wise reminder, your kind heart.
    may your son soon outgrow his lung damage, but (somehow) never your lap

  8. Touching and inspiring me from thousand of miles Israel
    love to you and your son