Loved and led, in the night

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today

In the night, we all get jumbled.

She comes in first. "A bad dream," she (always) says. I scooch, give her a pillow, and hug the side of the bed. Then the wee lad calls, "Mommy, I done!" It's 3 am and he's decided he's had enough sleep. Husband sighs, stumbles on feet and over legos, and tries to talk him down for just a few more hours. 

He's barely back in our (crowded) bed when the eldest comes in, holding his nose and covered in blood, "My nose is bleeding," I hear under muffled tissues. I'm up quick and with him at the sink, washing his face and changing his shirt. 

Then I hear the baby again. "Daddy.... I want in Ella's bed!" Husband tells me he kinda lied to him, promising him milk and cuddles in the girl's bed, hoping he'd fall asleep and forget. But he didn't, and in a second Daddy is up and the cries are quieted. It's just me and the girl again, in my bed, for what seems like the thousandth time in her five short years.

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2009

A few months ago, I went to the doctor, told her I was feeling run down and asked her to medicate what she could do for me. She quickly recounted the ways I could perk myself up: eight glasses of water a day, endorphin release, make sure I'm in community... oh, and get enough sleep. 

Water, check. Endorphins, mostly check. Community, check check check. Sleep?! She almost had me there! Silly woman, she delivered my babies. Doesn't she know? It's the "get enough sleep" part that shuts the whole thing down!

Nearly ten years in, I keep thinking we'll grow out of this phase. I envision a crisp and sunlit morning of lazy lie-ins, just the two of us alone in our own bed, well-rested and ready to conquer the children the world. Give me another five years and maybe we'll have this whole sleep thing sorted, everyone waking up in the bed they fell asleep in, everyone happy, everyone fixed.

jack and dad sleeping
2004

But I'm starting to realize this is what parenting is, how it should be. We open our arms when they come to us, we jump to our feet when they cry out, we clean them up when they bleed. They don't need to be fixed, just loved and led as we go.

"It's a good thing Mom was awake at 4am," I hear the eldest say as I finally emerge from our girl-cocoon at 8am. I walk down the hall and see - not for the first time in this long week - my sweet husband curled up in hot pink zebra sheets. 

It is a good thing, I think. Being here with them is the best thing.

I would really kill for some sleep, though.