It is late. Later than usual.
I push open the door and a triangle of light falls across her body. She is in her usual sleeping position, belly down, feet tucked under, butt up in the air.
As I tiptoe toward her she stirs, and I pause hoping not to disrupt her. She has not been sleeping through the night lately.
Her eyelids flutter and she pushes onto all fours. There is no sound, no cry, not even a little peep. Just the rustling of her body movement into standing position. She is still mostly asleep yet vertical in front of me.
I know all of the reasons I shouldn't, all the reasons I will probably regret doing it, but I pick her up anyway.
One leg tucked on either side of me, her head falls to my shoulder and I am acutely aware of how unbaby-like this position is. She is more of a toddler with each passing day.
Her body pressed against me, our breathing finds a rhythm, the rise and fall of each breath in perfect synchronization. And I am so glad I picked her up. No matter what difficulties it might lead to later.
We sway together for a few more minutes before I gently lay her back down. I expect that it will not be this easy, that there will be crying, back rubbing, maybe even nursing. I expect that it will be many minutes until I get to my own bed.
But when I lay her down she rolls onto her belly, clutching her pink bunny. Her eyes are still closed, her breathing is heavy. I touch her matted hair and kiss her head.
I close the door with my baby sleeping soundly on the other side.
Our quiet moment. The perfect ending to the day. The comfort of those few minutes with my baby tucks me into bed, promising sweet dreams for both of us.