I went to bed too late. Bleary eyed and grumpy, I made all the mistakes: there was a screen in my bed, I ate sugar too late, I did not look at my husband eye-to-eye before clicking off the light.
Sleep came hurriedly but, like taking a turnoff on a highway only to discover yourself going too fast on a suddenly-gravel road, I bumped in and out of consciousness. A fly buzzing, a light on and off, a memory of something undone, and then – within an hour – the thump thump thump of little feet making their way to my bed. Whoever spoke of the pitter patter of little feet wasn’t describing how pitter patters echo in the pumpkin hour.
I grizzled and leaned into the little face enquiring. Something about scary. Something about not being able to sleep. Something about wanting to sleep with us. I opened up the covers and felt his warmth clamber over me into the Parental Valley of Bliss. Asleep within minutes, he flung his arm out in slumbering joy, and whacked me in the eye.
Clearly, this was not working.
And, for what was surely the thousandth time in these years of mothering, walking the thousandth weary step in a path tread bare between our bed and theirs, I gathered him up and sighed a martyrs sigh to relocate his tangle of limbs to his own bed.
The bathroom light flashed across his face as we walked, and his eyelashes made a dramatic shadowed sweep across his cheek’s contour. He stirred, and I spoke a hybrid of comfort-warning close to his ear: “shhhh. sleep.”
His breathed his reply: a whisper, a benediction of night time love: “I love you, Mommy.”
This post first appeared on Bronwyn Lea’s blogwhere she writes about motherhood, life and faith: the things that make her laugh and the things that make her think. Bronwyn is a South-African born writer-mama raising three littles in Northern California. You can find more of her words at bronlea.com, and follow along on Facebook and Pinterest.