Breaking your own rules

I am on my second cup of coffee this morning trying desperately to clear away that thick, murky cloud that has encased my mind from lack of sleep. My thoughts are slowed and drowning in the sleepy muck and it is making me stumble over all sentences, even the ones I am typing. My condition is the result of a negligent amount of sleep last night, which was caused by motherhood, or to be more precise, a 6 year old nestled in my arms for four hours.

The youngest of my four kids, Dylan has bouts where he is becomes scared during the night and he cannot begin to explain why.  I have come to recognition his loud footsteps as he runs towards my bedroom, his little arms ready for a hug to restore that feeling of security he seeks.

So, once more, Dylan came stumbling into our room somewhere around 3 a.m., whimpering softly and declaring that he was too scared to be in his bed. I have to say, I usually try and stick to our big-boy rule that unless someone is sick and feeling lousy, it is back to their own bed, even if requires one of us sitting bedside for a bit. But, there was something in his plea this time that made me remember all the times I was scared as a kid and promised myself I would never turn away when my own child felt this way. I tried to do this with my girls, but my partnership was different the first time around, so parenting was different. I was always on a mission to prevent the anger of another and interrupted sleep was top on the list of things I had to prevent. I lived a life of compromise even when my heart knew better.

Regrets. I have so many regrets.

Thankfully, there is such a thing as divorce and starting over. It is the next best thing to a re-do. So now, I have the freedom to cave in and offer that TLC my heart longs to give a child whimpering the plea, “I can’t go back to my bed…I am way too scared.”

Last night, I did the right thing and pulled Dylan into my bed and let him curl up in the safety of my arms. I lay there, watching him drift peacefully back toward sleep, encompassed by that feeling of safety we all long for at times. He raised his droopy lids for one last time and asked me, “Mommy, what do I do with my friends?”

Huh? He lifted up his arms that had been hugging himself until that moment and held up little stuffed baseball player doll that he sleeps with, “Bubby All-Star”, and asked where in my bed he could sleep. I placed him on the pillow next to Dylan.

“What about horsy?” he asked.

Huh? Really? How many stuffed toys were in this kid’s arms? He apparently had brought his other sleep-mate, “horsy” with him when he came into our room.

“Why did you bring both of them?” I asked, knowing that he is not the clingy, attached kind of child that has to take his “lovey” everywhere he goes. Most of the time they are left on his bed. He looked at me like the answer should have been obvious.

“I couldn’t leave them all alone where it was so scary,” he answered. Of course he couldn’t. Even he knew about providing comfort to those who were afraid.

Dylan’s eyes looked into mine and he reached out with his tiny hand and turned my face closer, “Mommy, I love you very much…you are my best friend,” he said. Then he kissed me, and closed his eyes. He was snoring in two minutes. I was not, but I also, thankfully, have no regrets.

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