It is 6:45 in the morning. The lights flicker across the baby monitor to the restless cries and moans of a waking 1-year old. I sneak into his room, tiptoeing so as not to awake the creaking floorboards and make my presence known. I feel like a secret agent successfully completing their impossible mission, when after poking a pacifier into Ethan’s mouth, I hear him roll back over and go into sleepy mode again. Aaaah, sigh of relief. My warm bed awaits me and I too get to snuggle back in for a few minutes more. But then, at 7:05 a.m., almost on cue, a little voice talks at me through another monitor, “Mommy, I awake!” And in an instant, the household becomes alive.
I always joke that I sleep in until the boys wake me up because no matter how early I get up, they will inevitably come seek me out. Truth is, I am clinging to every bit of energy I have!
After our bustling routines of my morning workout, playdates, going to the grocery, feeding all of us, doing dishes and laundry, picking up the house, running after our adventurous 1-year old, maintaining the peace between the older two boys, playing with them, and whatever else the day may throw at us… when the arms on the clock finally tick their way around to announce it’s time for the boys’ 7:30 bedtime routine, I am ready to retreat to my own corner of the house and soak in some solitude.
I’m not sure if it’s the look of exhaustion on my face or the invisible ink “leave-me-alone” tattoo on my forehead that persuades my wonderful hubby to take on the task of getting the boys ready for bed. Whatever it is, I’m grateful.
I can hear the boys chatting daddy’s ear off. I hear the rush of the water as they brush their teeth, the padding footsteps as they drop their dirty clothes down the laundry chute, and the cue for me to come upstairs.
Every night we sing together and pray together. Then hugs, kisses, “goodnight” and “I love you” to each person in our little family of five. Our routine sometimes involves reading a book. But more than not, we forgo reading time for one-on-one together time. We let the boys decide who is going to tuck them in each night. And more often than not, they choose mommy.
I look at Brad. He can tell by the roll of my eyes that I’m ready to be done for the day. But tucking my babies in is such precious time, how could I say no?
Mommy bedtime tuck-ins are more than just goodnight kisses. It is the one time a day when everything else in the world stops. There are no distractions. No fighting for attention. No one else matters during those 10-15 minutes than the child whose bed I’m lying in and sharing the last few minutes of the day with. We talk about what we did that day. I always ask, “What was your favorite part of our day?” I love hearing their responses. I love the excited anecdotes they tell me (complete with animated hand gestures). It is as if they have been saving it all up to share with me as just the two of us cuddle up together. We talk about the fun that awaits us tomorrow. We do our silly little how-much-do-I-love-you games. I tell them how proud I am of them and what I most liked doing with them that day. And, most importantly, I tell them how glad I am that God lets me be their mommy.
Of all times of the day, bedtime is the most treasured. Not because it means I finally get to stop running. Not because it is my quiet, valuable one-on-one time with Brad. But because it reminds me of the calling I have been granted as a mom in raising and loving these three precious boys.
“Goodnight, sweet boy. Mommy loves you!”