Since the day my children were born, they slept nuzzled up to me in bed. Skin to skin. Warm. Safe. And they never left. They still come to our bed every night. Skin to skin. Warm. Safe. Still.
And it’ll continue this way until the day (or night, I guess) when they no longer come to us. It might be one week, one year, or five years from now. I don’t know when, but I do know they eventually will stop coming. Just because. So until then, it certainly won’t be my husband or I who tell them otherwise. We want to hold on to these years as long as we can.
I’ve met many people who, like us, also have an open-policy family bedroom, no matter the age. And others for whom it simply doesn’t work for them as a family. Each to their own. No judgement is the best judgement. Word up!
Thing is, while it might not be kids in your bed, we all have a “thing” that we do with our kids that is “ours”, and ours’ alone. Be it a habit or a tradition of sorts, that brings comfort to each of you. Warm. Safe.
Another “thing” I had with my eldest was at school drop-off. I’d always walk him directly into his class. We’d give eachother a big smooch on the lips and a big ole’ bear hug. I’d kiss his neck and say into his ear “be great today”. He’d then run over to the window and we’d do a virtual hug, an exaggerated wink (which is our “I love you”) and wave goodbye. And we’d walk off in our separate directions. Warm. Safe.
Until today. Today when we walked in, his best friend was waving him over to the Lego table. A great big smile came across my boy’s face. He turned and gave me a quick kiss, and ran off. I waited for him to turn around… he didn’t. I passed by “our” window… he wasn’t there. But through the window, I could see my boy laughing with his best friend, as they built towers to the sky. “Be great,” I said.
As I walked away, I felt heavy. A complicated, but proud, kind of heavy. My boy was spreading his little wings… he’d found his new warm and safe. His own. What’s more, he’s doing exactly what I told him to do… he’s being great.
A new chapter has begun. There is no going back. It took his innocently walking away from me to realize that those hugs and kisses and waves at the window were not only for him, but for me too. Maybe even more so for me. My boy was doing what we parents work tirelessly to teach them… and that’s to grow into their own. Independent. Confident. Great. And while I may not be quite ready to let old habits die, I do know it means that I too am doing my job, as his Mom, properly. I too am being great.
We often use the phrase “this too shall pass” as a reassurance that bad thing will soon end. But when it comes to parenting, good things also end. And while there’s undoubtedly more NEW good things yet to come, we truly need to enjoy the “now”…. because it too shall pass.
So tonight, when I hear those little footsteps coming down the hallway, and he slides into bed with me… you’d better believe I’m going to take every snuggle I can get. ‘Cause there’s no telling when these beautiful visits will end. So until he’s ready… because I’m certainly not… I’m going to welcome him with open arms. Warm. Safe.
Cheers, Red Whino
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