It's evening of day 6 of daddy being gone & i'm failing miserably at getting my littlest boys to sleep. i've got them sprawled out in my room. One is humming to himself in a little makeshift nest on the floor where i can keep an eye on him & the other is blinking furiously to keep the sleep he so desperately needs at bay. i'm trying to sit as still as possible. My mom always told me that the best way to put babies to bed is to be a boring lump & so i sit like a little statue shushing and murmuring every few moments, "no, lie down, close your eyes... "
i'm impossibly tired & even though i'm usually pretty patient, i've lost my temper already tonight - just like i did last night... and i sigh 'cause that's not the kind of mama i want to be. They're finally on the cusp of sleep - & i hear my teen arrive home.
i can hear her giggling in the kitchen, talking to her sisters - & even though her voice is soft, tiny blinking boy locks eyes with me as if to say, "Do you hear that? Our girl is home..."
i hear her gentle tread up the stairs & i'm hardly breathing - hoping that those little dopey eyes will close & that i can be off duty for a bit before i head to bed myself... but softly my doorknob turns and a smiling face peeks into my room.
"i had a great time..." She whispers. She glances at her tiny brothers - and tries to speak quietly - but little blinking boy turns into bright eyed boy all the same. She's all glowing with tousled blonde hair flying around her grinning face. She exudes beauty and joy - an aura of youthful energy - and even though i could wave her away and hope to get the boys asleep before hearing about her day - i don't.
She flops down on my bed. She's 15... she's funny, engaging, warm... and she's mine. She fills the room with her presence, sharing all the little hilarities of her day - stifling her laughter and easing my bedtime tension... we catch up & then like a little flitting sprite, she twists out my door, shutting it gently behind her. Tiny blinking boy climbs onto my lap 'cause he thinks he's just not close enough to find sleep, sprawled out beside me. Humming boy on the floor begins to beg loudly for, 'One more chance in my own room... i promise i will be a good boy this time!'
i give my 4 year old another chance that i'm sure i'll regret and i curl my arms slowly around my little one's body. i am struck with his smallness. Patience, mama... he's still so wee.
i sigh 'cause yeh... maybe i stink at bedtime... & maybe sometimes i'll even stink at motherhood... but this? These relationships - ones bringing nurturing contentment to tiny infuriating boys who need their mama - ones being a sounding board for spritely teens - this is what it's all about. It's about being there - opening my arms when i think i've got nothing left - but all they ever wanted is for my arms to be open...
My little ones are my riches, and on nights like this - i feel impossibly blessed.