It was inevitable that the week leading up to my birthday would see hubby even more sleep-deprived than me due to working into the early hours on events followed by early morning starts. Naturally my two small children didn’t quite realise that the best birthday present to give mummy would be a good chunk of uninterrupted sleep. Instead, they chose the night before to both wake up multiple times. Each time it was an effort to get them back to sleep again. I could count the total hours of sleep on the fingers of one hand.
Lying there in a fog of tiredness just after 5am, with my toddler sleeping again now in the middle of our bed and the baby fidgeting in her sleep in her cot, my first thought was why today? A busy day ahead albeit a lovely family day. I wanted to be able to fully enjoy it. I didn’t want to rely on caffeine to fire me up.
As I was about to embark on a mental grumble I suddenly remembered another birthday. Three years ago. A birthday where I’d put a brave face on. A birthday where I smiled through the day with my heart full of fear. Feeling the movements of my first baby inside me. Not knowing if I would get to hold her living, breathing form in my arms. We’d discovered just a few days earlier that she had a severe heart defect and the odds of her survival were low.
In the early morning light, I cuddle that child closer to me and thank God fervently for the broken nights. These broken nights mean I am blessed. Blessed with my miracle girl and her heart-healthy sister. I know too many mums with empty arms. Our own future is, and will always be, uncertain. I snuggle closer to my sleeping toddler, listen to my baby breathing softly as she settles back to sleep and realise how truly blessed I am for this beautiful moment. It really is the best birthday present I could ever have.