Night time is my time. While the days are for work, cleaning, and errands, once the last child breathes heavily and steadily in their bed, I come alive in a new way. Silence descends upon my home and I’m free to do whatever I’d like. It wasn’t until an hour after I’d tucked everyone in when I heard him wail. I froze and listened. Sometimes he does that in his sleep, but no, he was calling me by the only name he knows me by. I found him half sitting up, agitated and sweaty. That’s Wolf I am there waiting watching keeping to the shadows shirt. He was whine crying incoherently. I tried all my normal tricks: finding his favorite red bear, taking the sheets off of him so that the air could cool him down, scooping him into my arms like a baby for a hug.
See more Wolf I am there waiting watching keeping to the shadows shirt
Life has been hectic and different lately, maybe he feels it? Of course he does. Nothing worked and I felt that familiar frustration rising. I didn’t want to be here, in his room, battling with the most difficult version of him. I wanted to lie down, read, watch Netflix, or eat something I shouldn’t. But I deserved it. I only had an hour or so left before I’d fall prey to the sleep that’s always behind my eyes. And what if he wakes the others? The only thing worse than one awake child past their bedtime is three in the same predicament.
My first instinct was to fight to protect what’s mine- the sacred night- but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about motherhood it’s that some things can’t be rushed. Children feel when you’re impatient and so they deliberately, infuriatingly, slow down. They can sense when you’re in two places at once and will use every weapon in their arsenal to bring you to the present moment. I’m proactive. I’m a problem-solver, a brainstormer, and a doer. I like to be in control. But up against a 3-year-old who needs me to sit by his bed in the dark and hold his hand until he falls asleep, I know nothing would change until I let my agenda float up and away.
Keeping to the shadows and protect what’s mine
I called all of my attention away from the things I wanted to do and into the present of the darkened room with my son in his Paw Patrol pajamas and cheap plastic Lightning McQueen bed. I relaxed into the thin rug on the wood floor and surrendered, not to him or his needs, but to what the moment needed of me. Wolf I am there waiting watching keeping to the shadows shirt. I needed to be there and I knew it. There was no escaping this, no convincing, bribing, or threatening my way out of it. The parenting books and experienced grandmas might say different, but I could feel in my bones where I needed to be: here. I thought about nothing and felt his soft little hand in mine, first gripping tightly, then relaxing, going slack as his breathing deepened and steadied.