Last night I lay in bed with my boys waiting for them to fall asleep. At first I was disappointed. My carefully planned evening drive home was supposed to have lulled them off. I was looking forward to an easy, early night for all our sake. I lay there, slightly impatient as they went through their typical antics. “I need a toy”, “can I have some water?”, “One more story?” etc. But when Trystan asked for a pile up I melted. A pile up is from his favourite movie. The entire family climbs one on top of the other to fall asleep. Priceless. So now rather than slipping quietly into my own bed at 8:30pm as planned I am the foundation of a three story human stack! Ah well….it could be worse.
As my children snuggle me I am able to sense the change in their breathing and the subtle softening of their limbs as sleep takes them. Tonight it happens to both at the exact same time. Suddenly I’m in no rush to go anywhere. I lay there listening to their breathing, feeling the warmth of their tiny bodies. I notice how they have curved and contorted themselves to make to most possible bodily contact with me. A smile crosses my face and I close my eyes. There is no where I’d rather be.
I have thought about my night time routine with the boys at length. I am aware of the “mistakes” we made with Trystan as a baby that have made it very difficult to build his independence at night. He still relies on a “snuggle down” most of the time. As I see some similar patterns emerging with Loukah I struggle with all the opinions I hear and read in parenting columns. At times I worry that I’ve done them an injustice. Have I permanently robbed them of some developmental milestone that will later affect their success in life!? OH my God what have I done!?
More realistically I have struggled keeping balance. Those hours spent in the bed could have been mine to do chores, take a shower or read a book. There are so many things I long for and need to do. But lying in the embrace of my sleeping children puts everything into perspective. The dishes can wait. Dr.Seuss can be my pleasure reading for now. My children want me near. My presence comforts them and theirs comforts me. I highly doubt that when my children are adolescents they will need me to snuggle them down. I suspect they will go to sleep overs and summer camps and they will do just fine. I can only HOPE that on occasion they will allow me to sit on the side of their bed, stroke their hair and tell them stories about when they were tiny babies (as we so often do now). I PRAY that on occasion I can lie beside them and hear their whimsical imaginary stories or talk about their school day. If I can forever trace the outline of their faces with my finger and gently kiss the tips of their noses while they sleep….I will consider myself a good night guru!
Maybe I lack balance in my life right now. I know I do. But I will never look back and regret the lost moments, because I’m not loosing them. I’m cherishing them. One pile up at a time.