Watching for Breath

Henry has been asleep in the baby crib for 30 minutes already. The house is quiet for his morning nap.

I crack open the bedroom door, just wide enough to gaze at his 9-month-old body, all curled up in a ball.

I watch silently at the door.

Henry is Jenna’s son, my baby’s baby. But shouldn’t it still be Jenna, my little girl, in that same crib? It was only days ago, wasn’t it?

I do the math. It’s actually been over 9,000 days since Jenna last slept in the crib.

Life never stands still. Each day brings change. Change. Change. The changes never stop coming, day after day after day.

I remember peeking in to watch Jenna sleep, too, when she was a baby. And Morgan before her.

But this morning as I babysit my grandson, I catch my breath for a split second as I realize what I’m doing: I’m watching for Henry’s little chest to heave up and down, just a smidgen, as assurance of his breathing on my watch, just as I used to watch my own little girls when they were sleeping babies.

Whew. Henry takes another breath. Of course he does.

I close the door. I take another breath, too.

I feel reassured.

Maybe some things don’t change after all.

Did you watch your babies breathing, too? Share in the comments

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17 thoughts on “Watching for Breath

  1. Martha J Orlando

    Oh, the joy of watching a baby sleep! Yes, Lisa, I did the same thing when it came to checking on their breathing. I actually do the same for Danny on those mornings he really sleeps in – lol! Things do change, of course, but some things don’t.

  2. ~ linda

    Such a sweet and beautiful moment…many moments. Even though motherhood or grandmotherhood were never to be a piece of my life, I still have experienced such for children I have cared for and about. Reading this brings back a few of those. We watch for breaths in our walk with the Lord as we seek His deliverance, His guidance, His love. We seek breath in the air as Spring nears or in love as we draw closer to someone who cares about and for us. Yes, many held breaths before their release. New life, beautiful life. So grateful to have come by, Lisa. This is so moving.

  3. Barbara Harper

    Yes, I did. And if it was dark and I couldn’t quite see their chests rise and fall, I’d gently put my hand on their backs. Now that they’re grown, I kind of miss that nightly checking on everyone last thing before bed. But I can continually give them over to His care.

  4. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Such a lovely, poignant vignette. Yes, absolutely I did! Henry is one fortunate baby to have such a loving grandmother, and a God ultimately who watches over his sleep, his breath, his days.

  5. Nancy Ruegg

    We are funny creatures. Some changes we resist, and children growing up too fast is one of them! Then again, some changes we desire, but circumstances stay the same–like a job we wish we could abandon for more appealing employment. Praise God, one day this dilemma (and a WHOLE lot more) will be resolved–in heaven!

  6. Debbie Wilson

    I remember my husband coming home and wanting to wake our babies when they slept. “Will you take care of them after they awake?” I’d ask. He was content to watch them sleep. How precious to watch a sleeping baby.

  7. Karen Friday

    Love this beautiful piece, Lisa. What a sweet story. I also used to watch for my kids’s chest to rise to be reassured of breaths taken. Same with grand babies, peaking in to check, almost holding my breath to watch for their breath.

  8. Shannon

    My “babies” are now 7, 5, and 3, but I still go in each night before I go to bead and watch them breathing. I’m not sure how old they’ll be before I stop doing this!

  9. Carlie

    This is beautiful, Lisa! I think no matter how grown they are we are always, in some way, watching for breath for our children and loved ones. Watching for some sign that they are alive and well and that there’s hope for more life, full life, renewed life. God is so gracious to send us that assurance in the rise and fall of a baby’s chest or the phone call that comes from across the seas.

  10. Donna

    Oh Lisa, so precious, I did the same thing! And in fact I still do, but in a different way. I watch my “baby” with her baby girl, I watch her try her very best to be the best mom she can, yet wondeer if she is enough as a single mom. I watch her falter, catch her breath…and then inhale one more time, leaning into the hard places.

  11. Lois Flowers

    Aw, Lisa … what a precious post. Just the other weekend, after a difficult week, our daughter Molly wanted to sleep on the floor in our room one night. She was still asleep when we got up, and it took my breath away to watch her face. “Maybe some things don’t change at all.” Amen, my friend.

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