I’m dreaming I’m on vacation somewhere on a sandy beach and I really want to seek out some ice cream and am about to when I hear a voice pulling me from my paradise.
I sigh and pull myself out of slumber and look at the clock. 1:55 am.
Ok, ok. I get up and stumble into Ollie’s room. It’s always harder to wake up when you’re in the middle of a dream.
“What’s up buddy?” I manage to ask.
“Is it time to get up yet?” he responds.
“Oh sweetheart, no, it’s the middle of the night.” I tell him.
“Can we lie on the couch? Or in your room?” he asks.
“No honey, how about mommy lays in your bed with you for a little bit?” I offer, hoping if I lay with him long enough to lull him back to sleep I can sneak back to my own bed. I haven’t been sleeping well lately (happens like clockwork around that time of the month, TMI sorry) and I just want to get back to my own bed as soon as possible.
He nods his head yes so I climb in with him and give him a kiss and put my arms around him. Every so often I look over and see his eyes are still open. I can feel myself waking up more and becoming frustrated. I’ll probably be awake the rest of the night and will go to work completely exhausted again. I’m even contemplating if I can stay home or do a half day but remember I have important projects that need to get done. I’ll have to power through.
“Mommy?” Ollie pulls me out of my thoughts.
“Yes sweetie?” I ask fearing he’ll ask if we can get up for the day again.
“I have to go potty,” he says in the sweetest little voice. This is a step toward nighttime dryness and feels like a victory so I happily help him out of bed and into the bathroom. He takes care of his business rather quickly and then I tell him to wait for me as I realize I have to go too. And while I’m doing my thing I look over at him standing there in his pjs in the darkness of the bathroom. He looks so little and vulnerable to me. Just earlier in the day I was looking at the family pictures we just got back from my friend and I’d had this moment of “oh my god he’s so grown up he’s going to be a heartbreaker.” But here in the dark of the night, he’s just a little boy. He’s my baby. And I remind myself, he’s three. The world is still a big and scary place sometimes. He pushes buttons and tests us and frustrates us at times, but he’s still figuring out where his place is in the world around him. And I also realize, sometimes this might wake him up at night and even if he can’t tell me that he’s scared, he may just be a little scared. And who does he want if he’s scared? Mom. Don’t we all want mom when we’re scared?
As I finish up in the bathroom and lead him back to bed my heart softens and swells with love for this little person I created. Suddenly I want nothing more than to lay with him and cuddle him and reassure him I’m there for him always and will do all I can to help him navigate this life. So this time when he asks if I’ll stay with him, I tell him absolutely.
We get under the covers and he nests right into me. He fits right up into my body and gives this contented little sigh. The same sigh I remember from when he was satisfied after nursing when he was just a babe. I was his anchor then and I’m his anchor now. I give a content sigh as well and kiss his fuzzy head. And we both fall asleep.
The next morning I am tired and sore from staying in his bed, but I feel this joy I can’t describe. It reminds me of those early days of parenting just a little bit. The nights are tough and long sometimes but so rewarding. I think I needed that reminder that parenthood is a gift. Sometimes it comes to us in small packages like a middle of the night revelation. I’ll put this one on the shelf and cherish it with all the others.