Posted on | October 24, 2013 | No Comments
J started sleeping in his own bed after what seemed like centuries of tucking himself beneath the covers of my queen sized bed and taking up an inordinate amount of space for a small person. We bought a night light that spins stars up onto the ceiling and he would take glow sticks to bed like a mini-raver, twirling and throwing them up into the dark.
Every night at 7:30, we walk down the hall and crawl into his bed with a “finding book” or sometimes, when Mommy prevails, an actual book with a story, and snuggle together to read (or find). When reading is over, the lights go out, the stars come on, and in less time than it takes for me to read a chapter on my iPhone or count to 400, he is sleeping soundlessly beside of me, one arm curled above his head and one leg tucked uncomfortably below my knees. Sometimes, I creep out for television or house work or a few more chapters of whatever novel I’m knee deep in at the moment. Sometimes, I throw in a load of laundry or dust the furniture or play with the dogs.
And sometimes, I just lie there, staring up at the tapestry of lights and memorizing the way he is at that exact moment. Memorizing the dimples and curls and bruises, the scars and scuffs and dirty fingernails. Sometimes, I lie there and watch him embrace sleep with the ferocity of a four year old: fully and completely with reckless abandon. He sleeps hard, burrowing down against the mattress as though it will one day swallow him whole and he will have to pull himself out, piece by piece, to find the sheets again. I love the fifteen minutes it takes him to fall into dreams… the sweet toss and turn, the “I just need to tell you one important thing” that invariably means he wants to share what he had for snack at school, or tell me some random fact he might have made up about this or that animal. So many times, we are rushing… to or from school or church or the store. So much time is spent going and going and going and I look out into our future and realize that these small moments are going to be harder find. When he’s fifteen, and his legs wind longer and sturdier, he will no longer need to tuck them beneath my kneecaps to fall asleep. When he’s sweat drenched from soccer or football or basketball or band practice, he will not want me to sit beside him at the tub and hear about his day or play pirates with the bubbles.
So for now, I bask in the fifteen minutes. I bathe myself in his surrender to sleep, in his curl and clench of hands and fingers and mind. And when I hear the pound and patter of his feet in the hallway, marking the trail from his room to mine, sometimes I don’t care that it wakes me up at one or two or three o’clock in the morning. I pull back the sheet and wait for him to climb up into my bed, tucking his feet beneath my knees and breathe in the sweetness of his need for me. I wrap my arms around him and hold on to these moments… these sweet, peaceful, tender moments, when my baby is still my baby… when my boy is not yet a man.