Dear Little Fish,
I just finished putting you to bed. This is how it usually goes down: I hold you while you drink some milk, and your dad reads a few books. When he’s finished with the last book, he leaves and you and I sit together on your glider. It’s been this way since you were eight weeks old. That’s pretty much forever in your world.
As you get older, the routine has changed a bit. You drink out of a cup now instead of a bottle. You’re almost too big to lie in my arms like a baby. Almost. Your newest ritual is requesting that your dad and I kiss. You push his face towards mine and say, “Mama,” until he leans over and gives me a smooch.
The younger you used to nod off in my arms as we rocked. Now, we sing together. “Mama, shing,” you say. You’re very particular about the song. Sometimes you ask me to switch songs at a rapid pace, like I’m flipping a radio dial. Other times we’ll sing the same song over and over again. You don’t know all, or even most, of the words, but you like to experiment with tune.
There’s a book we often read called The Going to Bed Book. It’s a silly story about big-eyed animals in pajamas, but the closing lines are lovely: The moon is high. The sea is deep. They rock and rock and rock to sleep.
The moon is in the sky. The sea is calm and gentle. Everything is just as it should be. This is exactly how I feel in these dark moments with you—all is peaceful, all is well.
Soon, you will be too big for me to cradle you. In another year or two, you’ll outgrow the glider all together. Someday, further still, you’ll set out on your own. You’ll trek through jungles or sail across oceans, and the place where you fall asleep will likely be many miles away from me.
No matter where you lay your head, I hope you always feel safe. I hope you feel just as content as you did tonight, with your kisses and your blankie and your cup of milk. The gentle waves, the silvery moonlight—they will always be there for you. All you have to do is close your eyes.