Sweet sleep

by Jennifer on July 14, 2008

“Hug, Mommy,” she says in her thick, sleepy voice. Her arms reach up to me, and she smiles with her eyes closed. We hug. “Yay,” she whispers as she falls back onto the pillow and into easy, untroubled sleep. Girl has migrated from her room and into bed with me while I’m still awake, and I’m too tired to send her back to her own room. I make space for her warm, snuggled shape more often than I like to admit.

Most nights, she stays asleep in her own bed for much of the night and wanders into mine only in the very wee hours of the morning (the rule is that everyone goes to sleep in his/her own bed). But often, I wake up to find her there, in a burrow of covers on the other side of the bed. If she were an animal, she would be a rabbit, or a fox.

And sometimes, like this night, she has my blessing.

I try to put the day to bed. It’s usually right then that the concerns of the day, of the life, make a playground of my thoughts. The games are familiar.

There’s tug of war. I didn’t handle that situation the right way. But what else could I do? Did I say enough? Too much?

And keep away. If I could just reach high enough to to pull that dream off the shelf.

And the old stand-by, hide and seek. Where’s the waist I had 10 years ago? Where was my children’s good sense this afternoon when nothing I said or did could stop their bickering? Where’s that form for school? Still can’t find those pants from the dry cleaners. What was the name of that book I wanted to read? Did I pay the electric bill?

And the one answer that’s best of all at hiding: what happened to the person I used to be?

39, 40. Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Finally, after however long it takes, I turn over onto my stomach and pull the covers up over my shoulders. It’s what I do every night when I’m ready to fall asleep.

I know what will happen next. Girl drifts over from the other side of the bed and finds her favorite spot, the small of my back. She nestles her head right there, on top of the covers. The first time she did it, I laughed into my pillow. The next time, I fell asleep within minutes.

I’ve had to own up to myself how much I like it that she still wants to sleep with me. I know those days are numbered and close to spent. Maybe I should try harder to steer her back to her own room. But in those hours, whether I know she’s there or not, there is only peace between us. No rules to set, no complicated negotiations. Just the pared down humanness of slumber.

I can’t help but look at my children’s faces when they’re slack with sleep, the edges of their moods sanded away by dreams, long lashes against their cheeks. I can see the baby-ness of them, still. They are old enough now that I never see it at any other time. It’s nectar for us parents, the way our children look as they sleep, the stuff that sweetens the rest of the work we do and the tantrums we survive (both theirs and ours).

In this moment, everything is simple. I am her mother, and she is my daughter. There’s no game in it, just something human and basic and true. Worries give way to the comfort of blessings.

We sleep, and it is sweet.

_______________________________________________________

Kimberly at The Gav Menagerie happened to write about this same thing on the same day as I did. She hears her own daughter’s feet padding down the hall toward her room in the middle of the night to take up a spot in their bed. Her dreams of a king-sized bed take on a whole new shape by the end of her post. I love what she wrote (as I always do), so take a moment to read this: Seeking a comfortable closeness.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilary July 14, 2008 at 3:58 am

You write so beautifully, and give clear voice to the myriad of emotions we feel as parents. That was lovely.

Hilarys last blog post..The Rain, the Park and Other Things

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tysdaddy July 14, 2008 at 4:10 am

“I can’t help but look my children’s faces when they’re slack with sleep, the edges of their moods sanded away by dreams”

I love this image. My kids are never so beautiful as when sleep has snuck up and taken them by surprise . . .

Brian

tysdaddys last blog post..When Boys Cry

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Jan July 14, 2008 at 5:17 am

That really is sweet sleep. Love the share. It was great to read about the moment.

Jans last blog post..Rodent Bones~ Seriously

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Madge July 14, 2008 at 5:22 am

beautiful. i love when dave comes and sleeps with me. i know there isn’t much of it left and i love his sweet snuggles.

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Kate July 14, 2008 at 5:51 am

That is so beautiful!!!

Kates last blog post..No Post, Friday

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RiverPoet July 14, 2008 at 5:54 am

What a nice story. Hang onto those moments. Truly they are gone too soon.

Peace – D
(formerly Momma)

RiverPoets last blog post..Baseball and Smelly Man and Fireworks, Oh My!

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HRH July 14, 2008 at 6:21 am

I love this.

HRHs last blog post..Monday Potluck: Where’s the fruit?

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Louise July 14, 2008 at 6:50 am

As annoying as it can be sometimes, and as much as you feel like you SHOULD steer her back, you just have to do what you do. Realize that the days are numbered, and it’s sweet. Chicklet does the same thing. (I won’t let her stay if it’s before 4:30.) She’s my challenge all day, but that time is not at challenge at all. Mother and daughter. That’s it.

Beautifully written.

Louises last blog post..The “Worst” Day of My Life

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Tina July 14, 2008 at 8:20 am

Lovely. Oh, how I miss those days.

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Daryl July 14, 2008 at 10:06 am

Poetry …

“I know what will happen next. Girl drifts over from the other side of the bed and finds her favorite spot, the small of my back. She nestles her head right there, on top of the covers. The first time she did it, I laughed into my pillow. The next time, I fell asleep within minutes.”

Daryls last blog post..love the one you’re in

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manager mom July 14, 2008 at 10:31 am

Your words today were just lovely.

manager moms last blog post..Suck On This, Dilbert

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melissa July 14, 2008 at 10:36 am

Beautiful writing.
I am also overwhelmed by my sleeping children. They give me perspective like nothing else.

melissas last blog post..Number 3 Turns 4

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Mark Salinas July 14, 2008 at 10:40 am

What a wonderful way to put it into words. Our children is what it is about!

Mark Salinass last blog post..My Special Box

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Jenn @ Juggling Life July 14, 2008 at 11:04 am

My Social Butterly, at 13, is still quite a snuggler. I really am blessed. You might be surprised that she doesn’t outgrow it as soon as you’re thinking she will.

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..Universal Health Care Why?

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Jules~ July 14, 2008 at 11:06 am

Jennifer, yo did so wonderful describing and explaining every ounce of this post. I love how you related your unwinding thoughts to games. Gosh how I can relate.
Be encouraged. Enjoy those snuggle times in the middle of the night just like you do now. You don’t have to worry about what is the proper and correct course of action to bed rules. All too soon our children grow up and decide for themselves that they would rather sleep alone. She won’t be 18 years old and snuggling into the small of your back.
“Worries give way to the comfort of blessings.” You capped it so perfectly.

Jules~s last blog post..Over the River and Thru the Woods….

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Sandy (Momisodes) July 14, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Watching my daughter sleep is the most precious thing for me too. It sounds terrible, but it’s one of the few times in the day I enjoy her most. When she’s peaceful, innocent and quiet. And best of all, she’s not whining 🙂

So sweet she snuggles onto your back. We really do need to soak it up as much as we can now 🙂

Sandy (Momisodes)s last blog post..Reminiscent Guilt

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Kimberly July 14, 2008 at 1:17 pm

This is really, really lovely. I especially love this:

“It’s nectar for us parents, the way our children look as they sleep, the stuff that sweetens the rest of the work we do and the tantrums we survive (both theirs and ours).”

Weirdly, I posted something with a very similar theme today, though I think you said it much better than me.

http://gavmenagerie.blogspot.com/2008/07/bigger-bed-greater-closeness.html

Kimberlys last blog post..Bigger bed = greater closeness

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Lisa July 14, 2008 at 3:06 pm

I agree with everything you wrote 🙂

Lisas last blog post..Sunday Story–How Could You Tell We Were Americans?

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Ann July 14, 2008 at 4:21 pm

So sweet. It reminds me of my nieces and how they still sleep with my sister and her hubby at times.

I’m back from vacay and have so much to catch up on! Stoppin’ by to say hi. 🙂

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Milena July 14, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Jennifer dear: This was beautiful. I feel the same way as you but have never been able to articulate it so well.

Milenas last blog post..22 things I half believe in

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San Diego Momma July 14, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Toots still comes into bed with us almost every night, and like you, I don’t try too hard to discourage her.

But you put it so much better than I ever could.

San Diego Mommas last blog post..Window Into the Soul

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Coco July 14, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Oh my God, Jennifer. This is indescribably beautiful.

I know already the fleeting baby-sweetness that blushes my son’s face while he sleeps, because though he is only just now rushing toward preschoolerhood (I made up a new word, yay me!) he has already become more of a little boy than a babe.

When he sleeps, though, I still can see my little baby.

Hold on to those moments, yes. Cling tight.

Cocos last blog post..A Single Simple Thing

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Suzanne July 14, 2008 at 7:55 pm

This is so intimate and lovely…I really wish you would submit this to a magazine, I believe they would love to publish it because it speaks to the relationship between Mother and children in such a special way.

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anymommy July 14, 2008 at 8:11 pm

You have a gorgeous talent with words. Beautifully put. Thanks.

anymommys last blog post..Just Be

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flutter July 14, 2008 at 9:11 pm

now I am all weepy. Oy.

flutters last blog post..Holy S*!@ it’s BlogHer!

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Suzanne July 14, 2008 at 9:14 pm

Awww. The best part of writing about this is that you’ll look back on these words and remember how good it felt to have that small, warm body snuggled up in the bed with you.

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Grandy July 14, 2008 at 9:51 pm

A sweet sleep and a sweet post.

Grandys last blog post..Mother of the Year – 2 Points Scored

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Rhea July 14, 2008 at 11:48 pm

I love seeing my children sleep. And they both end up in bed with me all the time. I do love that they still want to be with me at times, that they find comfort from their parents, and then other times I need my space.

Children are so wonderful, simple and complicated all at the same time.

Rheas last blog post..Overheard

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we_be_toys July 16, 2008 at 9:34 am

You know, they’re little and sweet for such a short time, I say go with the snuggle fest and enjoy every delicious moment. I love it when the guys come into my room in the morning and get up in bed with me to chat. It will be soon enough that they get caught up in their burgeoning adult lives, so I savor those mornings!

we_be_toyss last blog post..Much Ado About Stuff

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Carolyn July 17, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Sighs. Millions of sighs. Beautiful. Especially this: “I can’t help but look at my children’s faces when they’re slack with sleep, the edges of their moods sanded away by dreams, long lashes against their cheeks. I can see the baby-ness of them, still.”

Exquisite writing Jennifer!

Carolyns last blog post..mama the liar.

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