and this is mothering at its root. it is softly whispering, “i will rock you all night long” at ten pm, and still meaning it at four. it is bulb syringes, soaked through burp cloths, exhausted prayers, and a vow to stop looking at the clock. it is watching the sunrise in the same clothes you wore the day before because you haven’t put the baby down long enough to change. it is still finding that thrill in your soul when she stops crying and smiles as you sing to her at three in the morning. this is mothering– hard and gross and you prop your eyelids open with your fingers to stay awake because she needs you to hold her upright. and it means that you would never ask another to trade places with you because this is your night and your baby and your vigil and it is everything.