I’ve confessed before that I’m a night owl. It’s currently 1.36am and I’m wide awake. Partly because I have a 10-week-old baby who isn’t well, and partly because I have just updated the Pinterest app on my phone and I can’t stop looking at craft projects I’ll never make and desserts I’ll never bake. I wish I had a salted caramel blondie right this minute, but alas, my unwell newborn is going to prevent me from doing a bit of middle-of-the-night baking… So I’m just going to look at the photos and wipe the drool from my phone screen with a burp cloth.
The middle of the night is very quiet, but there’s also a lot going on. There’s some kind of buzzing insect outside of my window. The fan is on low and it’s whirring comfortingly. The aforementioned unwell newborn is sleeping in her bassinet next to my bed, breathing softly. I know this because I am paranoid and I sometimes reach down with one hand to feel her chest rising and falling. My fingers are travelling over the keyboard, and the soft tapping blends in with the sound of the baby’s breaths. In and out. Tap tap tap.
My big kids, Miss 10 and Master Five, are sleeping in their rooms down the hall. My husband is asleep, and so is the dog. I’m the only one awake right now, possibly the only person in the whole of New Zealand. Okay, that’s not true, but the middle of the night is quiet enough that it feels that way.
I can remember several years ago, before we had children, my husband and I drove from Auckland to Palmerston North. We hit the Desert Road late at night. It was winter, and the sky was the clearest I’d ever seen. Somewhere around the middle of Desert Road, we pulled over and got out of the car to look at the stars. It was breathtakingly beautiful – the sky shimmered and twinkled. Definitely not the kind of sky I see from my home in the suburbs, even on another clear night like tonight. There’s too much light pollution.
But nonetheless, with that long-ago Desert Road sky in mind, I’ve just pulled on a cardigan and slipped outside to our driveway. Despite the ever-present glow of the street lights, I can see the Southern Cross above my house. Every time I travel overseas, the first night I am home, I go outside and look for this constellation. And when I finally see it, I know I am home.
I can hear that buzzing insect a bit closer now, since I’m outside in its world. But I know that when I go back in, it’ll be to the whirring of the fan, the softly breathing baby, my sleeping family. The middle of the night is quiet, but beneath the gleaming Southern Cross, we’re all very busy in our dreams.
Have a great week.