the moment not captured by a camera

The only sound in the room is the low hum of the humidifier.

The only light, the soft glow from behind an elephant, giraffe, and zebra peeking from behind a pile of books.

Two dark blue eyes stare at me in the quiet.

Behind dark wood slats.

I stare back.  Wordless.

A small foot pokes out from the handmade quilt and slowly rubs up and down a slat.

shhh shhh shhh shhh

Without thinking I reach up and touch a small toe.

Quickly it hides away back under the blanket.

A shuffle.  He is now on his back.

From my angle I can just see lashes blinking.  blinking. blinking. as wide eyes scan the walls.

Does everything look strange in the dim light?

Does the familiar suddenly disturb?

Does the friendly smile of the elephant on the wall now seem sinister?

blink. blink.

I roll to my back to see what he sees.

But even on a soft mattress this is uncomfortable for my pregnant body; the floor is impossible.

I roll back to my side.

A sore shoulder and hip is the better option.

I close my eyes and two and a half years run before my eyes in a blur like a water pouring out of a spout.  Mixing together in a murky puddle.

So much time in this room all swirl together into this moment.

I hear whispering.

My eyes open.  He is still on his back.

asa asa asa asa

It’s muffled by a pipey in the mouth and a lamby pressed against his nose.

What is he saying?  Is he whispering his fears to lamby?

Is he assuring lamby and in turn assuring himself?

Is he retelling his day?  How he played in the nursery at church and then ate a messy red cookie?  How he helped his grandma trim her Christmas tree and then ate his weight in birthday cake?

Is he wishing?  Wishing for his baby brother…a train set for Christmas…sleep?

My eyes grow heavy again.

They close.  But I start awake.

Two dark blue eyes.

blink blink.

Softly, “do you want to rock for a bit, buddy?”

A quiet nod.

We move to the rocker.

A boy, a pipey, a lamby, a hippo, and a blankey on my disappearing lap.

Within seconds his grip goes limp.  His head nods to the side.

And I sigh.

I used words instead of a photo because A) I don’t have any photos on my work computer and B) I do words better.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. You do words beautifully.
    I miss those nights in the rocker … who knew they would pass so quickly.

  2. Oh my, this is lovely.

    And -ahem- making me teary!

    Lovely capture Katie, truly!


  3. Sigh.

    Oh, the sweetness.

  4. This is so beautifully written, and I think it’s a perfect moment captured. That magic, when a mother’s rocking brings sleep in a breath. Perfect.


  5. Oh yeah… this sounds familiar.

    Sometimes I think the best memories are captured without a camera present. I wrote a post a couple of months ago about a hayride my daughter and I took one day when I’d forgotten to bring my camera to the pumpkin patch. Being able to really be there in the moment made the details from the experience so much clearer in my mind. And then I laid it all out in words on my blog to remember it.

    It’s one of my most popular posts. 🙂

  6. for sure, you might as well have drawn for me since I was right there.

    What a gorgeous moment you captured for us…xo

  7. I am insanely jealous of you. I didn’t start writing about my kids until my youngest was five. There are so many perfect quiet moments like this that I didn’t write down. This is gorgeous. You will be so glad you wrote this.

  8. What amazing words! You painted a picture I loved reading through!

  9. Your words are beautiful. Just like a picture, they expressed it so well.

  10. Two and a half years does indeed flow by like water. Gorgeous.

  11. You DO do words beautifully. That was perfect. Just right.

  12. Beautiful, Katie.

  13. This is beautiful! Made me feel like I was really there 🙂

  14. You painted a word picture that drew me in – thank you.

  15. You are gifted. Just totally gorgeous writing.

  16. So beautiful. Reminds me of the moments when I was only a mother to one. Those moments when my son needed to rock him to sleep and would let me snuggle next to him.
    Now he’s too big to sit in my lap, too big to be rocked.. but I have my beautiful memories.

  17. No picture needed, you painted it perfectly with your words.

  18. You my friend is a terrific writer and your words moved my soul and pulling on my heart strings. Thank you for sharing this.

    PS: I just LOVE your new look here. 🙂

  19. This is really touching. Beautiful words. Gives me big happy sighs.

  20. Oh how I long for the days of snuggling my boy on my disappearing lap.
    But how wonderful it is to watch him becoming a young man.

    You are so lucky to be capturing these moments now, my friend.
    (In these words like pictures, but even better…because they will make you remember with your senses besides your eyes.)

    So reach for those toes; rock while you can.
    And never stop looking up to see what it is that he sees.

  21. Kate this is so moving and lovely, well done!!

  22. I am in love with your words here. No photo even needed.

  23. Beautiful moment. Beautiful words. Beautiful mother.