The boy slept last night but I didn’t. Some summer nights this happens. I fell asleep early, while nursing him in my lap on the couch and then dozed with him on me. Eventually B. took him and got him into bed and I thought I would go too but wanted to stay in the wife space of the living room verses the mother space of our bedroom. I lay on the couch under the fan while B. meandered the internet and then he read aloud to us from The Alchemist, which we have both read. This time though the book is causing him some stress and that’s what had him up in the middle of the night. Me, it was the summer heat and the odd chill that comes from too many hours under a fan and also when I fall asleep early and don’t actually get into bed, it’s often like this, a chance for deep sleep that passes and then doesn’t return for many hours. Sleep can be like this for me; a bit jealous, a bit vindictive.
An insomnia night is much more high stakes with a babe but I repeated my old mantra, passed to me from my grandmother, “Even if you can’t sleep, just try to rest.” I tried to rest, though from some weird shifting in my vagina I always feel like I have to pee at night. I’m trying to remember to do a set of kegels every time I nurse but for some reason I only remember to do this during the barely conscious, middle of the night, sessions.
After an interlude of smiling, wiggling wakefulness (which is his typical morning way) the boy fell back asleep on my chest this morning, while I was standing and swaying on the top of the stoop. While standing there I imagined my father walking up and looking at me from the bottom of the stairs. I smile and put a quieting finger to my lips and then invite him in with a tilt of my head. We climb all the way up because B. is still sleeping and then I ease the boy into the rocker.
“Are you hungry?” I ask my dad. “I can make you some eggs.”
I put on the coffee, and we sit down under the fan.
“Why did you name the boy Rafael?”, he asks. (It was his father’s name first and in my mind he is currently mad at me for using it. I have no idea if this is true or not. I haven’t heard from him though, since the boy, since Rafael, was born.)
“Because that was his name,” I tell him, and it’s the kind of answer my father likes and he smiles.
I got no further in the scene because a garbage truck was coming down the streets and the squeal of the air brakes tends to wake the boy up. I went back inside the house, and then to the bathroom mirror to take a peak at the cuteness of him asleep on me. He was stunning of course, but then I looked at my own face too and held my own gaze. I saw there a tired and beautiful woman.