For some reason Malia just was not falling asleep at bedtime. Usually she is a great sleeper; we put her in her crib and we don't hear a peep (well, except for the ocassional singing).
But this night was different.
She kept crying and calling out for "mama." Since this is unusual for her, I kept checking in on her and of course as soon as I walked in the room, she was all smiles. After the 3rd or 4th time, I figured enough was enough and she could just cry herself to sleep.
I picked her up, and she got cozy in my arms as we relaxed in the rocking chair in her room. You know how sometimes it just feels right? I mean, it always feel good to cuddle with your kids -- but sometimes it's different; it just fits. That's how it was for us that night.
But my maternal instincts kicked in full force and I ended up going back in there one last time.
It took only a few mere seconds after she had settled into my arms until she was asleep. I could hear her loud, steady breathing and her precious snores escaping her perfectly plump lips.
I treasured every moment of that peaceful embrace and I took some time to pray for this beautiful child; this adorable little girl who has blessed my life beyond measure.
As I finished my prayer I quietly whispered, "I love you Malia."
I wasn't expecting a response from my sleeping child. But her eyes -- that had been still for many minutes -- briefly fluttered open, a soft smile graced her lips and she gently spoke.
"I love you, too."
Then her eyes closed and the snoring instantly began again.
And I knew in that moment that Malia had been s-a-v-o-u-r-i-n-g this experience just as much as me -- even while she was sleeping. Through her soft slumber she still knew that her mommy was with her; cuddling her, loving her, praying for her. She knew it was a bonding moment between the two of us. And she allowed herself to come out of her state of sleeping long enough to let me know that she loved me too.