Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This Close

I haven’t been sleeping well. All that crap about making sure she’s lying flat when I lay Olivia down each night so she actually stays asleep all night long and doesn’t join me in bed has flown out the window.

Last night I put her in bed, went back to check the locks, turn off the television and the Christmas tree lights. I went back up and found O at the top of the stair, her dainty foot poised to take the first step in her search for me.

I said sternly, “Back to bed! I’ll be there in a minute.”

She gave me a look that told me I wasn’t being very nice (spoiler: I didn’t care.) and practically skipped back to bed.

I took my time brushing my teeth and putting on my pajamas. When I went back into the bedroom, I found Olivia sitting up, patiently waiting my promised return.

Ugh! And damn it!

Let me remind everyone that this child is seven years old. SEVEN years old. SEVEN YEARS OLD!!! My inner voice was screaming that I should be tucking this girl into bed, kissing her good night, wishing her sweet dreams, heading for the door, turning off the light and not looking back.

Instead, I sat beside her bed and rubbed her back for a minute. Then I rubbed her hair for another minute. Then I just sat there with my hand on her back for a minute.

Then I went to bed. That sounds like just three minutes of contact but it felt like a damned hour. I was tired. I was cranky. I wanted to go to sleep too rather than soothe my seven year old child to sleep.

I know! I know that someday I will not look back and wish I hadn’t spent those minutes with her, holding her, comforting her. I might even miss these moments someday.

But you know what? I want her to give me a little space so I can miss those moments.

Alyssa? She goes right to sleep after I give her one last kiss and one last wish for a good night and sweet dreams.

Yes, yes, she’s almost eleven and that means there is hope for the younger one.

I read about moms who are planning to sleep train their babies. These babies are sometimes as young as four months old. And I think, “Why was I so reluctant to do that?” I’ve been tired for almost eleven years.

I should have worked harder to get them to sleep better when they were babies, before they could walk and talk.

Speaking of talking, Olivia asked me this morning, “Did you yell at me this morning?”

I replied, “Yes, I did. I was tired and you wouldn’t go to sleep. I wanted you to sleep so I could sleep too and I wanted you to stay in your own bed because it makes my back hurt when you come to bed with me.”

She just stared at me, unblinking, as if unable to believe that I’d put my own physical comfort before her desire to be close to me.

Well, you know what, kiddo? I’m almost over the whole self-sacrifice thing we moms are supposed to be all about. This close!

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