She appeared at my bedside only a few minutes after being tucked into her own bed...she had an upset stomach. Holding back tears, she said "I just want to lay with you." Immediately I put my book down and motioned her over. There are times when stress takes its toll and the only remedy is to be held. This was one of those times.
She wrapped her arm around me, her lanky body lay next to mine. Her head rested against my chest and we breathed together...deep breaths in, slow breaths out. "Don't think about anything," I whispered. "Just breathe with me." Her little breaths rose and fell with mine and within minutes I could feel her body begin to relax, one little tense muscle at a time.
She was asleep; her breathing rhythmic and shallow, her body heavy and limp. As I was enjoying the quiet closeness with my daughter, my son came into the room. His eyes were full of tears and his hands were sleepily rubbing them. "Mama, can you make room for me? It's not fair that Manda gets all the lovin'." *sniff *
My heart sank. One of my biggest fears is that one child will feel slighted in my affection, that he or she will feel I have chosen one to love more than the other. Without hesitation I told him to come around to the side that wasn't occupied by his sister. As he ambled around the bed I scootched Sleeping Beauty as far over as I could without waking her. Not much space was made available, but it was enough for him to squeeze in and share the "lovin'."
An hour later I awoke with a warm sweaty head nestled into one arm, a gangly limp body wrapped around the other, and a snoring dog at our feet. Were my bed fit for a king instead of a queen, we would have stayed together until my alarm rang in the morning. As it was, with such little space for the three of us to share, our night would be filled with legs, arms, feet, and hands sprawling with reckless abandon - and nobody would sleep.
I regretfully stirred my boy, trying to wake him enough so that he could walk himself to his bed. With no luck I hoisted his sleeping body, almost buckling under his weight. A mix of surprise and sadness quickly hit me as I realized how heavy he was and how quickly he was growing. As I carefully began to walk him out of the room my girl awoke and immediately began to complain that she didn't want to go to her own bed. I was silently complaining with her...
I wish I had a bigger bed so that on the nights when the weight of the world is heavy on my kids' shoulders, they can come to and remain in the place that comforts them most.