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3 AM


Continuing reflections on the spirituality of parenting….

It’s 3 AM, and we’re having another conversation about who should rock the baby, based on who is likely to get more sleep this night.

At least, that’s what I think we’re talking about. We might actually be talking about the theological implications of molinism or how to assemble a nuclear collider for all that I can follow the conversation.

Logic vacates these premises as soon as I fall asleep and doesn’t reappear until sometime after I convince myself that I will not be so tired once I am upright (it’s true!). Also, coffee helps, but even then the ability to reason comes and goes, appearing and reappearing in some sort of pattern I can’t quite discern.

It’s 3AM again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen 3 AM in the last 3 1/2 years, mostly because, if I kept track, I’d probably cry. Though I do notice, these days, that it doesn’t bother me as much anymore. I don’t know if I’ve gotten used to it or if all the sleeplessness has reprogrammed my brain. Whatever has happened, I find myself needing sleep less and enjoying the wee small hours more.

There’s not much in the world like curling a warm little person up against your skin and hearing the satisfied sighs that mean they are being nourished in more ways than one. Even when I’m waking out of a dream and I’m not sure where the line between fantasy and reality lies, something registers about the uniqueness and specialness of the situation. I experience a vague knowing that I hold a tiny treasure and that it’s hard to let her go when the time comes to put her back in her bed.

There’s comfort, too, in knowing that God inhabits this darkness. He has been quiet over these years of babies and nursings and night-risings: quiet, but not absent. Instead, he sits with me, feeding me as I feed her. It’s quiet and nourishing and I grow, sitting in the darkness with Him. We grow together, this babe and I, possibly even more in the darkness than we do in the daylight.

I know that my own sleep is on the line, that I will have to function the next day, that I’ll be up again in a too-short time, but these nighttime moments draw me in. They hold me close like I hold her, curling us up together and swaddling us in a silent, dark blanket that only the two of us can inhabit.

Daylight will come soon enough. In many ways, it will come too quickly. But for now, it is 3 AM, and I will hold my baby for a few minutes longer.


Sarah Winfrey is a writing mama who enjoys all of the varied views of Pikes Peak that her Colorado Springs neighborhood has to offer. In these tired days, she drinks more coffee than can possibly be good for a human being and writes for the sake of sanity. You can read more from her at her website,


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