Babies Don’t Keep*

P had a bit of a night last night.

I heard him start stirring right around 3am. As I heard him start to whimper softly, I eased out of the warmth of my bed into the cold as I crept down the hallway to his room. He heard me come in, and without even opening his eyes he just opened his arms wide and waited for me to fill them. His crying eased as I folded myself over his little toddler bed, and after a while he was content to just have me sit near him while he fell back asleep. I think he must have had a bad dream and just needed his mama close by. Every time I thought he was out cold, his little hand would creep out of his bed and reach for me, feeling around to make sure that I was still there.

It was almost 4:30 before I finally collapsed back into bed… and of course all three kids were awake by 6:30am.

It’s hard being awake in the night like that, but I sometimes think it’s when I do my best “mothering”. Do you know that poem about how housework can wait because babies don’t keep?

In the middle of the night there are no more chores to do, no mess to see, no errands to run and no where else to be. The house is quiet, everyone else is dreaming and there are no other real distractions. For those wake ups in the night, it’s just S, or H, or P & I while the rest of the world sleeps. Even though it’s exhausting, I feel like I don’t get frustrated as easily or quickly. I make time for those extra long hugs or snuggles because there are no other demands on my time. I almost feel like I see my beautiful babies more clearly through my bleary sleep deprived eyes because in the middle of the night they are all I see. In the dark I can’t see the mess or feel the stress of my never-ending to-do list.

My focus is where it should be: with my babies.

I love this poem… and I wish I could be more like the mother whose house is so shocking. Most of the time my house is shocking anyway, but I stress about it. And when my kids are tugging on my pants trying to get me to come and play dinosaurs with them, or have a snuggle on the couch, I often see all the things I still have to get done or the meal that needs making…

…but dinosaurs and snuggles are important too.

So now I’m off to bury myself into my blankets and hopefully stay put until morning. I’m at war with my eyes, but they are winning and closing fast.

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