I make my way to her room for the hundredth time, blind in the darkness. I know the path by heart...we both do. I sift through the many toys and blankets for a pacifier, trying to calm her with my voice.
It doesn't take long before her whimpers subside and she relaxes into my shoulder. Her tiny fists release the tension of bad dreams. I hum her the song that I sing to her before I put her to sleep every night. Laying her down in her crib, I stroke her hair and whisper goodnight. She is my sunshine.
I pause at her brother's room on the way back down the hall. He is peaceful, sprawled across his pillow, just like his daddy. I kiss his forehead, amazed, as usual, by how much he has grown. The chubby rolls and fine hair of his babyhood have given way to the long limbs and dirty finger nails of a little boy. He turns over and mumbles back "love you, too" as I leave the room. My little man.
My nights have been forever altered, and I wouldn't change a thing.
They are worth it.