Bedtimes have turned into a real pain around this joint lately. Like most everything else with parenting, it seems the minute we think we have it under control, the three year old pulls a new trick and we’re back to square one. We’ve done this before-it’s round three here- and we should be, (heck, at least I should be), better versed in the trials and tribulations of getting a preschooler to close her eyes at night.
But here I sit on a Saturday night with a finally passed out three and a half year old beside me. It took us two different beds, a new pillow, a drink of water, two stories and firmly stated “Go. To. Sleep” to get here. When I was just about to lose it, I tried to refocus and hold it together with a big deep breath. That’s what a good mother should do. Take a deep breath. And so I did. But just outside our bedroom door, as I unfurled the exhale, I saw my eight year old’s shadow.
She’s had a tough time lately. On the outside she’s fine, but on the inside I’ve seen her struggling. The pull between wanting to be at home, little and protected by her family versus socializing and spending afternoons and nights away from home is strong. Right now, she wants to be at home. We’ve had the frantic calls from sleepovers, the last minute cancellation of play date plans, and she and her brother have been bunking in the same bed for the last few months.
So when she heard my exhale as attempted to remain calm, I saw her turn and head back to the other bed. In that moment, I too was stuck between the pull of emotions. I wanted the kids asleep-by nearly 9:30 and after a full day and a half of single parenthood-I felt I deserved a break. And yet, I could tell by the way my older daughter lingered outside the doorway that she needed me. She needed the place beside me in bed and a little extra comfort. It was her turn.
By the time I strung my thoughts together and quieted the little one down, big sister was fast asleep. I kissed her hoping to see her eyes flutter so I could pull her into bed beside me, but she stayed asleep, curled next to her big brother.